Job scheme pairs energy with wisdom
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
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.