Unprecedented growth for school-employer partnerships

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IMG 2144 01 Feb 2018

Almost half of all Waikato’s secondary schools will benefit from Smart Waikato’s Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEP) this year thanks to the backing of economic, philanthropic and government organisations.

SSEP, launched in 2016, will this year reach about 3000 students in 22 secondary schools, along with 170 employers and 100 teachers, thanks to unprecedented growth and funding support.

The initiative interconnects business people from a range of sectors with school faculties, contextualising learning for Year 9 and 10 students and introducing them to a wide range of careers.

Smart Waikato chief executive Mary Jensen said it is encouraging to see widespread backing for an initiative providing a framework for employers to engage directly with local secondary schools.

“Thanks to support and belief in this initiative thousands more students and their teachers will make meaningful connections with local employers that will help set them up for the future,” Mary said.

New SSEP schools include Hillcrest High School, Forest View High School, Matamata College, Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga, Te Kuiti High School and Tokoroa High School. Other new schools will be finalised in coming weeks.

SSEP is established in Fairfield College, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, Hamilton Boy’s High School, Cambridge High School, Rototuna Junior High School, Huntly College, Ngaruawahia High School, Te Kauwhata College, Fraser High School, Hauraki Plains College, Thames High Schools and Morrinsville College.

Goals of SSEP include helping students make solid school subject choices to see them successfully transition into further education and employment and improving student achievement, retention and transition.

Hamilton Boys’ High School IT teacher Simon Devitt said SSEP helped him and his faculty stay in touch with the business world.

“It’s been really refreshing dealing with these businesses. It’s nice to affirm you’re on the right track or to be able to identify things you can improve on.” Simon said.

Employer Gary Brown, of JP Marshall engineering, said his business was taking a long-term approach to filling skills needs by participating in SSEP.

“As the students come through school they can set their mindset on a career path early and actually focus on the subjects they need to be successful,” Gary said.

Supporters of SSEP include Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Waikato Means Business, WEL Energy Trust, Waikato Farmers Trust, DV Bryant Trust, Mercury - Waikato Tainui Partnership, Glenice and John Gallagher Foundation, SKYCITY Hamilton Community Trust and Community Organisation Grants Scheme.

Organisations interested in sponsoring SSEP in their local secondary school or engaging with SSEP students can email sally@smartwaikato.co.nz

Watch SSEP videos on YouTube.