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Source: Outward Bound – Joe Public PR

FROM THE CLASSROOM TO THE MEETING ROOM – A new vocational pathway has been created by Outward Bound and the Ministry of Education (MoE) to make it easier for young people to transition from education to employment, arming them with the right skills while lifting youth employability rates.

The pathway comes in the form of a new eight-day Outward Bound course – Whakatipu (growth) – the first of which will be held in June and August. The course has been co-designed with employers to ensure students gain the work-ready skills they need.

“Outward Bound gathers employer and teacher feedback about a student’s areas for growth prior to the course and this is used to tailor the course delivery to their individual needs with targeted outcomes,” explains Krishan Kumar, Outward Bound Community Development Partner.

“Employers have identified to us several areas students need to improve their workforce skills, including time management, how prepared they are for work, problem solving and decision making abilities. These skills are more in demand than ever. With the labour shortage crisis, employers are looking towards a younger workforce and need these rangatahi to learn the mindset and responsibilities that come with employment.”

Outward Bound has been running courses to develop youth leadership and personal skills for 60 years in September, and since the school’s inception in 1962, almost 70,000 New Zealanders have attended courses designed to help them reach their full potential through outdoor challenge.

“Throughout the course, there’s a lot of time for reflection and group discussion and one-on-one time with instructors. It’s a place where young people can learn team building, problem solving, communication, leadership skills through challenges and activities in the outdoors that will push them to their limits – skills essential for successful employment,” adds Krishan.

Rose Jamieson, National Director – Parent Information & Community Intelligence at Ministry of Education says: “We are excited to partner with Outward Bound because we know developing attitudes and employability skills are critical to a young person successfully transitioning into the world of work.

“Outward Bound’s Whakatipu course brings together a student’s work experience and involves their employer to personalise their experience – learning more about themselves immersed in Aotearoa’s natural beauty.”

One student getting himself ready for the Whakatipu course in August is Paddy Rangiwai-Evans. Paddy was awarded a scholarship to attend, nominated by his teacher who said he was “deserving, always giving 100%, totally reliable, personable and committed”.

Every Friday, the year 13 student at Gisborne Boys’ High School attends a ‘Preparation for Services’ trade programme in the hope of joining the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) next year to train as a navy combat specialist.

“I feel so privileged to receive the scholarship for a programme I know that will change my life. Reading about the Kaupapa, which helps people to better contribute to their community and to the world through action based experiences really resonated with me.

“I really want to go to Outward Bound to develop my leadership skills, meet new people, travel out of Tairāwhiti and to prepare myself for the armed forces. I’m looking forward to meeting a variety of people who, like me, want to improve their teamwork, leadership and self-awareness skills. I expect that the course will be challenging, and at times confronting but I know Outward Bound gives people the skills to build resilience through personal challenges using our incredible whenua.”

NZDF Deputy Director Recruiting Ops, Major Albie Rothman, says that much like Outward Bound, the NZDF inspires its people to be better through challenge.

“This breeds the resilience needed in hostile environments on operations around the world. By partnering with Outward Bound, selected candidates gain the skills they need to start a career with the Defence Force.”

This year, places on the Whakatipu course have been allocated to regions throughout New Zealand including Northland, Waikato, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson and Marlborough, West Coast and Canterbury. For future courses, Outward Bound will be working with Work Brokers and the Ministry’s Secondary Transitions team and expanding the regional spread to all corners of the country.