Working together on pathways to jobs and training

Published: 12 April 2024

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown with Mary Philip (centre) and Joy Thompson of the Ashburton Learning Centre.

The Ashburton Leaning Centre is collaborating with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs to help young people and others facing employment barriers find training and job opportunities.

The taskforce is a nationwide initiative supported by the country’s mayors and works with young people not in education or employment (NEET), and those with employment barriers. In the Ashburton district, more than 50 placements have been made in the 2023-24 year thanks to local employers working with taskforce coordinator Sharon Watson.

The learning centre is based on Havelock Street in Ashburton, opposite St Joseph’s School, and helps with workplace literacy and numeracy, CV and job seeker support, driver’s licence support and tutoring for specific learning difficulties.

Mayor Neil Brown said the taskforce coordinator and the learning centre had been collaborating, with the aim of ultimately helping more youngsters into training or jobs.

“The learning centre can take on students who are not enrolled in school, but who are struggling. They can help people gain their learner licences and this is often where problems with literacy are identified, and then they have the experience and expertise to recognise and recommend testing.”

The centre recently helped identify Irlen Syndrome in a young adult engaged in the taskforce initiative.

“It’s a processing disorder and many people are unaware they have it,” Mayor Brown said. “But some simple tools can change your abilities quickly and that’s where the learning centre can help. For anyone with barriers to literacy, not just youngsters, there is support.”

People engaged with the taskforce can be placed into jobs or apprenticeships with local employers, or they can be enrolled in training or start a journey that could lead to a job in the future.

“It is about the journey, and this is the very first step for some people. Everyone’s journey is different and the taskforce and the learning centre recognise this and are finding solutions to individual problems to get them to where they want to go – be that a driver’s licence, further education or training or employment.”

The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is well ahead of its target placement for the year in Ashburton and a second coordinator is being recruited. This programme offers valuable support for those seeking employment in Ashburton.

The Ashburton Leaning Centre plays a key role by providing educational resources and helping individuals overcome challenges.

An interactive family careers day is planned for 24 August involving local businesses in the district.

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