Youth bank on Poutama to find work
Students on Pathway into Employment programme learn new skills for job search
Locals are still wandering into the old BNZ Bank on Katikati’s Main Rd not realising it’s now a place to help young people on the path to employment. Poutama Pathway into Employment team leader Fiona Edwards will invite people inside regardless, and give them a quick tour and rundown of what Poutama does — she’s very passionate about the Ministry of Social Development-funded programme.
Since September last year, small groups of young people aged 16-24 have been coming to Poutama in Katikati for the 13-week programme. Katikati Community Centre took on the programme and it is one of 10 based in the Bay of Plenty.
Here they learn all the steps in gaining employment — or towards training/apprenticeships — such as investigating careers, goal planning, CV writing, driver’s licences, applications, interviews and forms and allowances.
The programme teaches students what employers are looking for. They discuss work talk, self-management, teamwork, problem-solving, facing fears and resilience.
Students are then put into situations to reinforce their new-found skills.
Fun activities often have life lessons, says youth career coach Shaun Tato.
“For example, we do the ropes course and it may be hard for some. Then we go again at the end of the course and all of our participants progress past their sticking points.
“By the end of it, the students are really pleased with themselves because they’ve been successful, they’ve overcome their fears, they know they can achieve . . . you can’t learn things like that in school.”
The students are treated like young adults. However, the tutors play the role of a coach/parent, he says.
The crew want to dismiss perceptions that Poutama is just for troubled youth.
“We’re for everyone. There’s no barriers,” Fiona says.
“We’ve had students in our class who had NCEA level two and those with no qualifications at all.”
The alternative option is “fast track”, which is designed for young adults who are work-ready and just
need a hand with finding work.
All students receive ongoing support for a year once they have enrolled.
The service covers the general area from Omokoroa to Waihi and transportation, if required, is provided.
Poutama also searches for employers to which it can recommend its students.