Education to Vocational Employment Pathways

The Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce is committed to a long-term strategy of bringing together the local business community and education sector, and raising the profile of vocational and trade and service-related careers for all our young people.

Alongside our community partners, we aim to:

  • Provide opportunities for young people and their teachers to connect to local work opportunities, exploring industry-specific careers while in school
  • Enhance young people’s perspectives on vocational education and ‘earn while you learn’ pathways
  • Showcase trades and service industry careers to young people and their families, whanau and educators
  • Engage the business community in the local education community
  • Engage with other community stakeholders to support young people into vocational careers.

The Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly Business Confidence survey builds a strong picture of a vibrant business community. The survey findings highlight one of the the single biggest barriers for business growth and confidence in the Hutt Valley is increasingly labour shortages and being unable to employ the right staff.

The business community has identified it is critical to address this by building strong relationships with our local secondary schools and employers, to channel the young talent within our community into rewarding, local vocational employment.

This important survey sponsored by Red Hot Business Coaching and Consulting. See past survey results here.

Building Key Relationships for Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE)

In 2019, when the Government announced plans to completely restructure vocational education, RoVE was initiated as a direct response to ongoing labour and skill shortages.

RoVE will have a stronger focus on employers, delivering the skills they need, providing more support for their employees, and ensuring greater consistency in vocational education across the country. Longer term, this will increase the number of employers who are engaged in vocational education.

The reform’s aim is to create a strong, unified, sustainable system for all vocational education that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive.

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Addressing the Issues Around Labour Shortages

At the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce we recognised these reforms as an important part of assisting the business community to address the issues around labour shortages.

Based on the results of our Business Confidence Survey, along with additional research, we supplied a 14-page submission to government, representing the perspectives of our local business community.

Following on from this, we have fostered new relationships with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and the Tertiary Education Commission on behalf of the local business community. We are continuing to provide a unified voice for the local business community into the development of these reforms.

With two polytechnics in our valley as part of our business community, the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce is actively involved in RoVE. We are committed to supporting the business community to employ work-ready staff and we are implementing a wide-ranging programme of work to address this.

We are implementing a long-term strategy of bringing together the local business community and education sector to raise the profile of vocational and trade and service-related careers for all our young people.

Education to Employment Speed Meet

Our pilot event was held at Naenae College in 2019. To improve pathway opportunities for the youth of Lower Hutt, we held an initial ‘Meet and Greet’ between schools and employers.

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More than 60 people attended our pilot event, including 12 schools and 20 different businesses. There was also strong interest from people keen to find out more about the event.

This pilot was an exciting step in improving the outcomes for young people, employers and our community as a whole.

Numerous employers were enthusiastic about working closely with local schools and providing a range of services to help improve pathways for local students.

The Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce is developing a programme of services for 2020 and beyond to bring local employers, schools, students and whanau together to facilitate our community’s youth into rewarding and successful vocations and careers.

“I really enjoyed the evening and am looking forward to meeting again with Wainuiomata High School. I also had a very exciting conversation with another colleague, who I am confident we will collaborate with on a pilot programme, ‘Insight into Industry’.”
Hospitality Business Owner

Further Plans for 2020 and Beyond

Feedback from our activities in 2019 from the business community makes it clear to us they are enthusiastic and willing to work with the education system and embrace employing our local youth into work. Being such an innovative business community, business owners are already coming forward with fresh new ideas on fun and effective ways of how we can all work together to reach a common goal, for the benefit of our whole community.

A comprehensive programme of events is planned around engaging business and bringing business and education closer together. We are actively working on more opportunities for employers to engage more directly with those looking for work and will continue to participate in this space. Working with a wide range of stakeholders including city councils, secondary schools, tertiary education providers, private training establishments and ITOs, we are actively developing a programme of activities that promotes and supports students into vocational education and promotes trade and service careers, and ‘earn while you learn’ pathways.

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