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Writing CVs, applying for mortgages and enrolling to vote are all important life skills but most people have to learn how to do them on their own.
However, students will now be able to learn these while at school as part of the School Leavers’ Toolkit, which will give all secondary school students access to programmes that provide civics skills, financial literacy and key workplace competencies.
The toolkit covers numerous capabilities including how to live away from home, make the most of tertiary study, start a budget, pay tax and look after personal wellbeing.
This has been welcomed by many in the education sector, as well as employers and students.

For 15-year-old Wellington High School student Ossian Lynch, the toolkit will provide skills that can’t be learnt from Google or by taking notes in class.
“I think it’s a good way to teach kids practical skills they’ll almost definitely need in real life, as opposed to skills that only prepare them for more school.”
He hopes the toolkit will include job-based skills beyond writing CVs, such as how to be a waiter or work in a shop, as these are jobs that most people will have at some point in their lives.

His brother, Lenny, who is in his first year of study at Victoria University of Wellington says he would have found the toolkit helpful and thinks it’s a great start.
“Currently the school system only prepares you for going to university, which is not essential and not the only viable option for teens’ futures.
“And even then, schools don’t provide any sort of assistance with applying for universities and the only help we got when it came to living in halls or flats was an hour-long course near the end of our last year.”

Better life skills

Xero’s New Zealand Learn Lead Michelle Taggart says the toolkit will be useful in ensuring students leave school better able to build stronger life and capability skills.
“We think it’s a great initiative; there are some fantastic things in the toolkit in terms of financial literacy.”

The company, which has committed its willingness to recruit people with no qualifications, looks for a number of these life skills when hiring – especially financial literacy and digital competency.

“Those are real areas that we see a great need for.”
The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) will be working with teachers to use the School Leavers’ Toolkit to promote opportunities in the trades for the country’s future workforce.

Chief executive Warwick Quinn says the toolkit will help get students work ready and learn skills that employers look for when hiring new people.
“The transition from school to employment can be overwhelming and better preparing our youth means more success for them, their future and our community.”
Having the right attitude and showing some initiative are key to gaining work experience in the trades, he says.

“It’s about soft skills like showing up to work on time, being ready to do anything, even if it means sweeping the floor, and showing some enthusiasm and willingness to learn new things and ask questions.
“Employers tell us they want people who are focused and are looking to progress in their career.

“Having a driver’s licence is nearly a necessity to be a successful candidate for a trade apprenticeship as well.”

The government initiative, which is in its second year, received a $3.5m funding boost in this year’s Wellbeing Budget.
Each school will have access to resources so they’re able to design their own School Leavers’ Toolkit that meets the context, culture and needs of its students and community.

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