18 Oct 2017
An initiative generating transformative results for Waikato communities by connecting young people with employers is being expanded to include more secondary schools.
To date, 2200 students, 12 schools and 100 employers have taken part in Smart Waikato’s Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEP), aimed at contextualising classroom learning and introducing young people to careers in a wide range of sectors.
Further funding means the partnerships will be rolled out at Hillcrest High School in Hamilton, Matamata College, Forest View High School in Tokoroa and Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga in Huntly in 2018.
SSEP sees businesses interconnecting with school faculties at Years 9 and 10, giving students real-world context around what they learn at school. Employers come into the classroom and students visit workplaces to see how school subjects are applied across a range of industries.
Students and teachers involved in the partnerships say they are transforming the way they learn and teach, with employers enjoying the opportunity to encourage young people and inform them about their industries and business.
Results from an SSEP pilot survey show significant positive impact on students, teachers and employer partners, with 84% of more than 543 student respondents saying the programme helped them understand why they were studying a particular subject at school. Furthermore, 96 per cent of 26 teachers involved said SSEP supported their professional development.
Smart Waikato chief executive Mary Jensen said pilot results showed broad positive impact for students, teachers and employers.
“It’s clear that SSEP paves the way for young people to make sound subject choices and better prepares them for sustainable futures, so it makes sense to roll out the programme to as many schools as possible,” Mary said.
Fonterra’s Tony Chalmers, who worked with with science students at Morrinsville College, said the connections he made through SSEP had been valuable.
“Community connection is a really important part of our business. We are local so the opportunity to demonstrate what we do on a daily basis and how it links to what they do in the science curriculum was really important to us,” Tony said.
Morrinsville College Principal John Inger said SSEP impacted the way students learn and engage with the wider community.
“There is no doubt SSEP has opened out students’ eyes to all sort of opportunities in the science world. They can see that what they are learning does have a place outside of school,” John said.
SSEP is supported in the region by Waikato Means Business, WEL Energy Trust, Waikato Federated Farmers Charitable Society, DV Bryant Trust, Mercury-Waikato Tainui Partnership and Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS).
Smart Waikato Trust is hopeful to secure further funding to extend SSEP to additional schools in 2018. To be considered for the programme Waikato Secondary Schools should complete a registration of interest: