More than 60 Te Puke High School students have had workplace experience this year thanks to its Gateway programme.
And, while it isn’t the goal of the programme, seven are now in fulltime employment and five are working part-time.
Gateway administration officer Isabelle Vosse says that is a nice topping of icing on the cake.
The programme has been operating at the school for 20 years and gives students a taste of working life while they are in Years 12 and 13.
A major part of Isabelle’s role is to find employers who are prepared to take students on for, usually, one day a week.
She says there is never any expectation that a placement would morph into a full or part-time job.
Three of the seven with fulltime work have secured apprenticeships and the numbers are relatively high compared to previous years.
The programme is one way of supporting students who don’t necessarily have university aspirations.
“If they are going to university, they know what subjects they have to do, but there’s a big chunk of kids at the school who are not going that way so it’s good for them to know that we are doing more practical-based learning.”
The school’s head of careers, Sonya Burggraaf, says this year was a good year for students being well matched with their work placement, demonstrated by the number that were employed.
“The [employers] were so happy with them that they were happy to take them on which is a good thing, but Gateway is not about that - it’s about getting that experience. Usually the work placement, for a lot of them, is their first job.
“The fact that Te Puke has been so good in giving us those opportunities for those students is cool as well.”
Isabelle is already talking to employers about placements in 2024 and 90 students have applied for the 66 Gateway places.
This year there was a wide range of businesses providing placements from shops and early childhood centres, cafes and hairdressers to automotive and engineering businesses.
“Gateway can really open up their whole vision of what they can do,” says Isabelle. “Many struggle at school, but you put them in a workplace and they can see, ‘actually I’m wanted and I’m needed and I can do this’.”
“Their whole confidence skyrockets and that’s what we see every day,” says Sonya.
“We’ve got the support of our school for our students to go out and do the work placement and that shows the school is behind the programme as well,” says Isabelle. “There is the support for the students to catch up for the day they are not here.
“But it’s not only the school - it’s also the employers working together with the school to benefit kids.”
Any business owner who might want to find out more about the programme can contact Isabelle by email at email@example.com.