Pathways to Employment programme works at Council

17 December 2019

Wellington City Council is proud to announce it’s about to accept its 100th cadet for the He Ara Whai Mahi - Pathways to Employment programme – giving valuable work experience and skills to young adults on jobseeker support.

Pathways to Employment graduated cadet Alisi in the Council mailroom

P2E graduate Alisi

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He Ara Whai Mahi - Pathways to Employment, a partnership between Council and the Ministry of Social Development, was piloted in 2016 and has had a 100% completion rate since then, with 73% post-programme employment success rate – 13 of which are currently employed at Wellington City Council.  

The Ministry of Social Development funded programme, gives young adults on the Jobseeker Support benefit who are aged between 18-24 years the chance to work for four weeks in a professional working environment.

Around 50% of the cadets have been university graduates who haven’t been able to get jobs because they don’t have work experience, says HR Director Meredith Blackler.

“The key outcome of this pilot is for the participants to gain employment as they are able to add a reference and experience to their CV’s.

“It’s also been beneficial to the culture of the Council as these young adults have a fresh, interesting and exciting perspective on the city and their environment – and we can all learn from that,” adds Meredith. 

Former cadet and current HR Administrator Raj says the programme is a fantastic opportunity to help transition yourself from the institutional base of uni/study life into the office environment.

“Coming straight out of uni and looking for a role is not easy, so it can take a while to get a job. This programme attains you transferable skills that are essential for work life, such as meeting deadlines on work/projects and organisational skills that will put you ahead of your peers (graduates) since you will be well prepared to achieve in a practical based environment by gaining relevant work experience and references.”

Former cadet and current Mailroom Supervisor, Alisi, says she gained a lot of knowledge about Council and also gained confidence doing the programme.

“I gained more confidence when it came to problem solving with customers at reception.  This also gave me more confidence when I dealt with staff from different business units.

“Because I had a more understanding of all these different job titles, I notice what my like/dislikes were, what people do and how it affects others. I realised now that what I was looking for in job is nothing to how I thought it was like before I started this programme. I was very grateful to be a part of the programme, because it brought me to where I am today.”

The cadets have worked across 30 different Business Units around Wellington City Council, says Chief Executive, Kevin Lavery.

“It’s a win/win for everyone. Prospective employees are exposed to a range of occupations and departments across Council – and gain a good understanding of routine and how a professional working environment runs.

“We in turn can give staff the opportunity to mentor and upskill on management experience too.”

The programme has also been adopted by WellingtonNZ. General Manager David Perks says the economic development agency has hosted a number of cadets to help them gain workplace experience.

Not only have we had projects completed, but it’s very satisfying to know that we are helping individuals to get a footing on their career path.”

MSD Wellington Regional Commissioner Gagau Annandale-Stone says programmes like Pathways to Employment benefit allows the Ministry to partner with local community, employers, industry and council to give more opportunities to build on young people’s future. 

“The value of this programme is huge for the young people involved, with far reaching opportunities for whanau and the community. We’re proud to partner with Wellington City Council to offer such a fantastic opportunity to our young people.”  

The initiative was a finalist in Christian Dahmen Memorial Award for HR Innovation at the 2018 HRNZ awards – recognising a new HR policy, practice or initiative not previously seen in New Zealand or who have taken an existing approach or used an existing product or service in a novel or unique way.

“We also work with Employment Connections, which provides supported employment and transition services for people with disabilities and health conditions in the Wellington region,” adds Gagau.