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.



YEP1 gradFor many young people in NZ, this will be their last year at school.  Being prepared for this shift from school will have a strong influence on how positive they feel as the year ends.

Families have a key role in helping their teens successfully launch into the next chapter of their life-adulthood. Patience and perseverance will help, but dig in, as it could be an uphill battle all the way.

Decisions about future study, training or work are too important to leave teens to sort it on their own, to leave to chance or to last minute negotiations. In a time of high youth unemployment, young people who leave school under-prepared are more likely to miss out on the limited opportunities available.

In an article in the NZ Herald, Fran O’Sullivan highlights the need for the Government to get serious about youth unemployment.

Research has shown that young people have a lifetime of expectations and habits created by the start of their career-so those who leave school to ‘do nothing’ wear the scars of this ‘failure to launch’ for many years. If you want to know more about the significant impact of youth unemployment, you can read some interesting research on the long-term effects here.

Groundwork for family with school leavers

  • Sit down with your teen; discuss how best you can help them to grow into their new adult role
  • Support your teen to achieve at school or in training – Qualifications count!
  • Encourage your teen to seek out work experience – even if it’s voluntary
  • Create opportunities for them to build their self confidence and ‘work- valued’ skills such as self-management and communication skills
  • Take him/her to a career advisor or check out sites like Careers NZ
  • Help your teen build a CV and gather references
  • Check out future destination options – Use opportunities such as university open days and Workchoice Day
  • Connect with your social and work networks and let people know your teen’s study or work goal(s) – they may be able to help
  • Ensure your teen at least has their restricted driver’s licence by the time they finish high school, as some employers won’t hire a person without one.

What other ideas do people have for parents of school leavers?