Job scheme pairs en­ergy with wis­dom

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HUL­BURT

An old-fash­ioned ap­pren­tice­ship scheme with a twist has seen a small busi­ness make a big move.

Blen­heim Ap­pli­ances is the first New Zealand small busi­ness to take on an ap­pren­tice un­der the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment (MSD)’s new em­ploy­ment scheme ‘‘Mana in Mahi,’’ which means ‘‘strength in work’’.

The pro­gramme is aimed at young peo­ple aged be­tween 18 and 24 who are get­ting a main ben­e­fit.

Un­der this pro­gramme, par­tic­i­pants are paid em­ploy­ees, who work to­wards recog­nised in­dus­try train­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion such as an ap­pren­tice­ship ar­range­ment.

Em­ploy­ers get a wage sub­sidy to help with the cost of hir­ing a young per­son, and sup­port­ing them to learn their new skills in per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment.

Blen­heim Ap­pli­ances coowner Mea Bishop said tak­ing on a young per­son was some­thing many busi­nesses should look at do­ing.

‘‘When you are young you have new ideas and en­ergy; when you’re older it’s life skills and wis­dom – so it’s good to have a com­bi­na­tion of these tal­ents in a busi­ness.

‘‘The other thing you need to re­mem­ber when tak­ing on young work­ers is that you have to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that helps them thrive and feel part of the team,’’ she said.

When Bishop and her hus­band went look­ing for an­other em­ployee – they tried ad­ver­tis­ing and also de­cided on fol­low­ing up with ap­proach­ing MSD in Blen­heim.

MSD em­ploy­ment co­or­di­na­tor Heather Man­ners sug­gested they take on a young per­son un­der the Mana in Mahi pro­gramme.

This would pro­vide some fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to help get the per­son up to speed and in­cluded pro­vid­ing in-work sup­port for the new staff mem­ber as long as they wanted it.

The busi­ness own­ers in­ter­viewed 20 year-old Ben High­man twice said Bishop.

‘‘We were im­pressed with his keen­ness, hon­esty and en­thu­si­asm.’’

A few weeks down the track now and Ben is do­ing well.

He will soon start his train­ing to­wards an Ap­pli­ance Ser­vice Tech­ni­cian qual­i­fi­ca­tion – which will take around three years to com­plete.

‘‘If the per­son you hire has the in­ter­est, you can men­tor them through an ap­pren­tice­ship.

‘‘For them, it’s learn­ing to work in a team, what em­ploy­ers ex­pect and cop­ing with mak­ing mis­takes.

‘‘I think a lot of young peo­ple think if they do slip-up they are a fail­ure and some­times give up be­cause of that,’’ Bishop said. ‘‘They need to know it’s okay to make a mis­take; just learn from it and start afresh to­mor­row..

‘‘Busi­nesses know we are fac­ing short­ages in qual­i­fied trades­peo­ple – so it’s good to give some­one keen the op­por­tu­nity to get qual­i­fied and do well.

‘‘There are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties out there for em­ploy­ers who pro­vide a good work­place with good pos­si­bil­i­ties; and for young peo­ple who are keen, will turn up ev­ery day and want to a build a fu­ture,’’ she said.

Man­ners says that MSD has some re­ally good Marl­bor­ough can­di­dates for the Mana in Mahi pro­gramme but adds ‘‘They just need an op­por­tu­nity to show what they can do.’’

Em­ploy­ers in­ter­ested in tak­ing on a young per­son un­der this scheme can con­tact Man­ners on Blen­heim 03 984 7573 or to find more in­for­ma­tion visit www.workand­in­come.govt.nz/ man­ain­mahi

SUP­PLIED

The Mana in Mahi em­ploy­ment pro­gramme has seen ap­pren­tice Ben High­man, left, MSD em­ploy­ment co-or­di­na­tor Heather Man­ners and Blen­heim Ap­pli­ances co-owner Mea Bishop join forces.

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