Connecting secondary school students to a range of career options and local employment opportunities is the key aim of a new service.

Career LinkUp, part-funded through Toi-EDA by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, will be an important step in the Eastern Bay of Plenty's pathways to work strategy and has the backing of local industry, colleges, community partners, iwi, and local and central government, according to Toi-EDA workforce development manager Barbara MacLennan.

"It will give our rangatahi (youth) more opportunities to develop aspirations and make informed choices. It's important they know about the skill and job opportunities in our region's industries and iwi economic development plans," she said.

Career LinkUp will give students and staff a better understanding of iwi and industry needs, help grow work-readiness, and help employers to be prepared for working with young people.

Ms MacLennan said the programme would include work-focused activities like days out with industry, new taster courses, and events that raised awareness about Eastern Bay of Plenty industries among whanau and the wider community.

The Career LinkUp was also supported by Bay of Plenty's Tertiary Intentions strategy.

Strategy chairman Sir Michael Cullen said the new system was an example of the sort of community-driven solution advocated for by Bay of Plenty's Tertiary Intentions strategy, which focused on ensuring the labour needs of the region were met by an educated and skilled workforce.

Mr Cullen said having a skilled and educated workforce that was able to meet the leadership and labour needs of the region provided a range of benefits including social and economic wellbeing of whanau, community, and the wider Eastern Bay of Plenty.

"Students will be able to access career pathways within the Eastern Bay of Plenty and wider region, as well as gain competencies and other transferable skills to enable career success."

Through assistance of the Todd Foundation Toi-EDA has undertaken a feasibility study to shape Career LinkUp to meet local aspirations.

Some elements of the approach were drawn from the successful Instep Programme led by Priority One in the Western Bay of Plenty.

"If we want a future where all rangatahi are actively engaged and thrive, we have to work together in new ways at both local and regional levels," Ms MacLennan said.

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