Latest SSEP schools announced

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linesco5 03 Sep 2019

Smart Waikato Trust today announced the latest schools to benefit from its award-winning secondary school employer partnership initiative, bringing total number of schools involved to 28.

By 2021 10,000 students will have been enrolled in Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEP) in 43 of 50 secondary schools throughout the region. Schools with a high Māori population are a priority.

Nga Taiatea Wharekura, Melville High, Hamilton Junior High and Tai Wananga schools in Hamilton will start SSEP this year, alongside Onewhero Area School, Mercury Bay Area School and Whangamata Area School.

Next step is to identify local employers in these areas keen to connect with Year 9 and 10 students to help contextualise their learning and introduce them to different careers.

SSEP is a region-wide collaboration which has to date involved 21 secondary schools, more than 4000 students, 110 teachers and 140 employers. Participants work together to show students school subjects in a ‘real world’ context. The aspirational vision of the initiative is that by 2030 there will be no youth unemployment, no skills shortages, and educators and employers will ‘move freely in each other’s worlds’.

Smart Waikato Trust is receiving $449,300 over three years from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to extend SSEP into these regional secondary schools and 14 more, working with employers to create more transition-to-work opportunities.

The success of this project is underpinned by a collective approach between Smart Waikato, community philanthropic organisations, corporates and other funders over the next three years. For 2019 WEL Energy Trust, Te Waka, Waikato Farmers Trust, SKYCITY Hamilton Community Trust, Mercury-Waikato Tainui Partnership, J & G Gallagher and the Gallagher Trust have pitched in to help.

The funding will generate jobs for young people by enabling Smart Waikato to work with 140 existing SSEP employers to develop and promote entry level work opportunities, linking back to further education where applicable.

Experiencing subject learning in a workplace context is having “positive and profound” effect on secondary school students throughout Waikato, with impact even more significant for Māori.

Measurement of the initiative shows in comparison to results from all student data, an even greater impact was seen on Māori students, particularly the extent to which SSEP has influenced future school subject choices (72%  of Māori students compared with 66% of all students), how long students think they will stay in school (69% of Māori students) and helped when thinking about their future career (74% of Māori compared with 66% of all students).

SSEP won Economic Development New Zealand’s Best Practice in Collaboration for Business, Iwi and Community last year.

Employers interested in partnering with new SSEP schools can email linda@smartwaikato.co.nz.