Pupils willing to work

Daniel Whyte (left) and Allan Walter, from Invercargill-based software development company Digital Stock, help Year 10 pupils from Southland Girls' High School experience virtual reality technology. Photo: Supplied

MORE than three-quarters of Southland high school pupils are eager to enter the workforce, or are already working, according to a Southland Youth Futures (SYF) survey held in 2018.

Close to 84% of high school pupils surveyed said they “already worked or wanted to work”, which SYF co-ordinator Allison Beckham said was very promising.

A total of 667 pupils were surveyed across 14 Southland secondary schools, with 246 (37.96%) saying they had a job and 298 (45.9%) saying they wanted work. It was the first time a survey of this size had been held in Southland since 2013.

Mrs Beckham said the figures went against the perception teenagers were unwilling to work.

“We were very encouraged by the figures, and the other thing that encourages me in particular is that some of the employers that I work with tend to think that 14 to 15-year-olds are a bit young to be dealing with. This survey I think validates that view that it’s worth talking to teenagers… they’re still thinking of what they’re going to do and they still want to work. We’re really happy with that.”

Other figures of note were the number of respondents who intended to get their learner’s driver’s licence in the next three years (80.56%), as this was often seen as a major skill required by employers in the region, she said.

It also revealed farming and agriculture to be the most sought-after profession, followed by sporting and fitness and health-related professions. Government worker/politician, retail worker and social/community worker were the least sought-after professions.

Mrs Beckham said she believed the survey was the first of its kind in New Zealand, and had received a large amount of interest from other regions at the Career Development conference in Wellington in October. The figures obtained from the survey would be passed on to employers in the region to help in recruiting potential employers, as well as being used to encourage hiring pupils after school or during holidays.

They would also be used to coincide with the release of a work-ready passport by SYF this year. The passport would enable pupils to fill in a variety of different skill sets about themselves as well as “develop the knowledge and skills required by employers”, Mrs Beckham said.

This would then be passed on to potential employers with the goal of helping pupils gain employment regardless of their qualifications. Six schools in the region planned to implement the passport when it was released this month, with more schools being targeted to join, she said.

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