Kiwi Can Do identifies good young people and gives them a chance

The inaugural Kiwi Can Do pilot for the Master Painters Cadetship programme to transition young unemployed Kiwi kids into full time work is “performing out of its skin”.

The construction industry in New Zealand and the Government is watching the pilot programme with huge interest. The Kiwi Can Do programme has the potential to be a circuit breaker to get youth off the dole and motivate them to work. It will provide additional staff to meet the increasing labour and skills shortage now becoming a big problem for the New Zealand construction industry.

The programmes will impact on the inter-generational cycle of unemployment with potentially massive impacts on families and for generations to come.

It is the first time an outdoor education programme has been designed to teach leadership, communication, teamwork and to create fit young people ready to join a work crew and the work environment.

At the 2013 conference in Palmerston North Master Painters were very clear in what they wanted. Attitude was the key factor they wanted to see in young people they hired and they ranked it ahead of experience and work skills.

They summed up by saying “give me a young person with the right attitude and we can teach them the skills they need to do the job” Better than 80 percent of the first intake from the Kiwi Can Do Master Painter cadetship course, held at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre at Tongariro (OPC) in March, were offered 90 day trials.

While it is still early days, initial reports from both the cadets and their bosses are encouraging and some of the employers are already talking to the BCITO about signing up for apprenticeships.

Kiwi Can Do OPC

The cadets came home from their intensive outdoor adventure course on a Saturday and started an initial week of work experience the following Monday morning.

The initial interview process at Work and Income is crucial in sorting out those who have a genuine desire to change their lives and get off the benefit.

We were looking for:

  • Positive attitude.
  • Want to change their lifestyle.
  • Passion for painting.
  • Convincing and genuinely wanted to work.
  • Pass a drug and medical test.
  • Driver’s licence (minimum restricted).
  • Fit, prepared to listen and learn.
  • No recent or relevant criminal convictions.

While the unemployment levels remain at a relatively high rate, there will be plenty of candidates who will tick all of the boxes above. Work and Income have asked the Kiwi Can Do team to find jobs in all areas of the construction industry (not just limited to the painting industry) for another 80 young people on their books. The recruiting for this second stage has started.

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