Magazine article New Zealand Management

Inbox: New Learning for a New Economy

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Inbox: New Learning for a New Economy

Article excerpt

The talent development focus in the corporate sector is mostly on graduate skills and performance, and executive and professional development. But what about the 'feedstock' for driving the economic engine of the future?

As many Auckland residents can attest, it can be almost impossible to get a plumber or electrician at short notice. And talk of the need to import tradespeople for the Christchurch rebuild has left many wondering just what's happened to workforce planning and strategies to ensure that our education system is delivering graduates with the skills and resources that the current and future workplace requires.

It's not only an apparent mis-match between vocational training and workplace needs that's of concern but a high level of disengaged students throughout the schooling system. Disengagement and premature exit from formal education mean both a huge waste of potential and a growing cost to the nation for the social services to support marginalised under-achievers. But it is providing the impetus for a range of unconventional solutions.

Some of the most innovative thinking is delivering education programmes targeting young Maori. Many of these programmes are driven by concern about both unemployment and under-employment of young Maori -- particularly young Maori men.

The Open Wananga, the home-based learning subsidiary of Te Wananga o Aoteoroa, introduced a project this year targeting unemployed young male Maori in particular, those in low-paid jobs and those looking to enter the workforce.

Called Mahi Toa, the fee-free programme delivers a National Certificate in Employment Skills.

The Open Wananga looked beyond traditional learning models and conventional education recruitment and engagement strategies; searching for examples of contemporary advertising and media campaigns and characters that pushed the buttons of the demographic they were targeting. …

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