This year we launched the Youth Employability Passport (YEP) to help young people build, practise and integrate the competency skills employers have identified as being critical for them to succeed in securing and retaining employment.

The objective of the YEP is to establish successful education and industry partnerships that connect young people with vocational opportunities within the region to ensure students are aware of their career options in the trades and technology sectors, and have the opportunity to build their employability skills.


Around 100 young people across three Auckland schools and one training organisation are participating in a pilot programme designed and led by our Skills Manager, Shirley Johnson. The young people are receiving training and on-the-job experience, recording their developing skills in the passport along their journey.

We have generated positive feedback on the passport, with a number of other schools showing interest in the programme.

The Youth Employability Passport not only equips young people with the necessary skills employers are seeking, but it places them in industries they are passionate about.

Papatoetoe student Sirila Alao has aspirations to be a chef in the Navy, and has been placed at SKYCITY Hotel’s 24/7 staff restaurant and room service kitchen to get a taste of what it’s like to get behind the chopping board.

Before showing up to work in the kitchen, Sirila was taught the skills his employer would be looking for, such as attitude and punctuality, so he was able to make a good impression from the get-go.

Now, with the help of the passport programme, Sirila knows his dream to work in a kitchen is an achievable outcome and looks forward to stamping SKYCITY on his CV.

SKYCITY Apprentice Trainer and Coordinator, Martin Harrap, said the passport provides just as many opportunities for young people as it does for employers. He is currently supporting two other young people from the programme, and says the possibility of permanent roles for the young people is definitely on the table.

Thank you to our partners Auckland Council, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Careers New Zealand, CDANZ, Employers and Manufacturers Association, Employers Association Trust, Pathways to Employment Trust, Tindall Foundation, Work and Income, Workchoice Trust.

A special thank you also to the Lottery Grants Board, Work and Income, Auckland Council and Pathways to Employment Trust, who have made it possible for us to trial the passport, including bringing on a programme and logistics coordinator to organise work placements for the young people taking part in the programme, handle logistics and liaise with young people, schools and employers.

NEXT STEPS: At this stage, the trial involves monthly reviews to improve the workability of the passport. We hope to conduct an expanded trial in 2016 to further refine the programme. Already a number of schools and youth organisations have indicated their interest in being involved. Eventually, we aim for the passport to be widely used by Auckland schools, tertiary institutions and youth training organisations, and we are working with relevant government departments towards that goal.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Youth Employability Passport programme, or about our other work in the youth employability sector, click here.



passoportWe are delighted with the progress made on the Youth Employability Passport over the last few months. Workchoice have completed the final elements of the passport including: the competency framework, user guides, skills assessment matrix and the passport itself; “The Licence to Work”.

For the next stage in this process, the passport has been placed in the care of Careers New Zealand which is developing a professional development programme for teachers and youth workers so they understand how to use this passport.

We expect the trial for the Youth Employability Passport to begin in mid-April in several Auckland schools and a youth organisation.  This trial process will involve monthly reviews to improve the workability of the passport before it is rolled out throughout Auckland, and ultimately the rest of New Zealand. Other schools from around the country are already showing interest and wanting to be involved with this programme.

Supporting young people into work and further educational training is a core focus of our strategic plan. For more information on the project, please contact Shirley Johnson, COMET Auckland Skills Manager at

For the full March 2015 newsletter, please click here.


Many thanks to all of you who completed our survey1stakeholder survey in December.  We have found the results affirming and
valuable in reflecting on our work.

The aim of the survey was to gauge how COMET Auckland’s value is perceived by our core audiences and project partners.

Almost two thirds of respondents said that COMET Auckland is driving successful education and skills outcomes in Auckland, and over half stated that COMET’s positioning as an independent, cross-sector organisation is highly important in advocating the specific education and skills needed in Auckland.

According to the survey respondents:

  • 93.33%     said that improving education and skills outcomes to enable Auckland to become the world’s most liveable city is very or highly important
  • 83.33%     said having an independent, cross-sector organisation advocating for the particular needs of Auckland and supporting coherence in education and skills is very or highly important
  • 81.36%     said COMET Auckland fulfils an important function
  • 55.56%     of Public Sector / Central Government respondents said COMET fulfils a unique function in Auckland’s education and skills landscape, in a way that no other organisation does.

Among the responses, the following anonymous comments stood out:

“COMET has played a key role in fostering the financial literacy programmes in the Tamaki area and, through this, contributed to a growing recognition of the possibility of change amongst the financial wellbeing of the Pasifika community. We provided a better service through working with budgeting and family focused groups in our local area”.

COMET “pulled together major organisations in South Auckland to collaborate on education in Tamaki Makaurau… Inspired learning by bringing together specialised Māori in their field to present and discuss issues that relate to many of us”.

“COMET is great at doing research / collating data so that arguments can be presented to Auckland Council / funding agencies etc. that are based on sound information and not just anecdotal / emotional responses… It’s an important role.”

Thank you to all of those who participated in our survey. Your input has been invaluable and an important reference to COMET Auckland, at a time when we need to demonstrate our contribution to the city’s education and skills sector more than ever.

For more information on our recent survey, or for ways to support COMET Auckland, please contact our Chief Executive Susan Warren at

For the full March 2015 newsletter, please click here.

Youth Employability: New resources now available

Young employeesWe have been working alongside the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Auckland Council in recent months, conducting research on youth employability in the city.

As a result, we now have two insightful new resources which we created for our Employability Forum on November 14th, and also for you to make use of in your work. The resources are a short and informative video showing interviews and focus groups (click here to view the video) and an extensive report (link to report here) highlighting the views, key themes and challenges for young people and employers today.

As part of the project, we spoke to a range of young people from all walks of life and ethnicities, as well as speaking to employers and business owners, to get views on the opportunities, barriers and challenges for both young employees and employers in the space.

The video is a useful resource that shows the different views, concerns and aspirations of young people trying to get into the workforce, and we also hear from employers on the other side of the story, who speak about what they are looking for in young employees and apprentices and what some of the common challenges are in employing young people.

The report, Enhancing Youth Employability to support economic growth in Auckland, was prepared by Alison Sutton and Shirley Johnson (COMET Auckland) and Penelope Tuatagaloa (RIMU, Auckland Council).

Feel free to share this video and the accompanying report with your networks, so we can all have a better understanding of the important issue of youth employment, unemployment and employability.

Thanks to all the young people and employers who made this project possible.