As part of its commitment to youth employment, Auckland Council has developed three pathways to create opportunities for Auckland’s career starters – the Cadet, Intern and Graduate Programmes.
“We are raising the prospects for Auckland’s youth,’’ says Kate Thompson, Auckland Council’s Cadet Programme Advisor. “We want to recruit motivated and innovative talent, and give them the right support so they can grow and establish successful careers. Our youth engagement reflects the diversity and ethnicity of the city, and we do have a focus on Māori and Pasifika.’’
In 2015, more than 100 Auckland Council employees took part in programmes to become future leaders and specialists. Council’s long term goal is to take on 30 cadets, 50 interns and 50 graduates, a year.
We have seen amazing engagement from the graduates. The managers’ feedback is that they bring different perspectives, innovative thinking and the ability to problem solve
Graduate and Intern Programme Advisor, Auckland Council
Cadets start at the council on a one-year fixed-term contract, and are then offered other roles. They gain work experience in areas such as libraries, customer services, and licensing and compliance.
“They are career starters, and we want to support and develop them, help them identify permanent roles and retain them,’’ says Kate. Out of the 11 cadets ending their one-year programme in October 2015, nine have found roles in council, one is returning to study and the other moving overseas. Kate is delighted with this result and says the structure of the programme, commitment of managers and the attitude of cadets to grab the opportunities available to them has made this happen.
As interns, students get valuable work experience and a taste of the Council’s operations for three months. The Intern Programme has nearly doubled, with 44 students due to work at the Council over the 2015/16 summer break, compared with 23 the previous summer. Once students have completed the Intern programme, they then have the opportunity to join the Graduate Programme.
The Graduate Programme has a focus on learning and development. Graduates have their own support team including a buddy, team leader and mentor, who they discuss performance and professional and personal growth with.
Once employed, the graduates complete a two-year rotational schedule working with the different teams within each department, before moving into a permanent role. Forty nine students are set to start early 2016, 32 more than in 2014.
I’ve put goals in place and I want to give back to the community in a cultural sense. I would like to help drive outcomes for Māori.
Cadet programme participant, Auckland Council
Making a difference in cultural relationships
One minute Hinewairere Warren is finishing her NCEA Level 3 qualification at Auckland Girls’ Grammar, the next minute she’s working in the Mayor’s Office at Auckland Council.
Hinewairere joined the Council’s Cadet Programme straight after the end of the school year in November 2014.
“I was apprehensive to start with but extremely inspired,’’ she says. “I had fast exposure to how the organisation operates, and it’s interesting seeing the connections with Council and how it affects the city. There is a common goal of working towards making Auckland a more liveable city.’’
Joining the programme
Hinewairere heard about the cadet programme through the Māori Private Training Establishment, Solomon Group, and was invited to attend the Council’s full-day assessment centre.
One of the challenges was particularly significant. “They gave us stats about the Auckland youth unemployment rate and we had to find opportunities for improvement and implement solutions.’’ says Hinewairere.
There were 40 candidates that day and 11 were offered one-year cadetships. “For someone coming straight out of school and into the top political office in Auckland is quite a big leap but it has inspired me to continue with university study.’’
Hinewairere, 18, is now studying part-time for a joint BA and BCom degree with an emphasis on global politics and international relations.
What's next for Hinewairere
“I’ve put goals in place and I want to give back to the community in a cultural sense. Auckland has growing ethnicities and a diverse range of people. I would like to help drive outcomes for Māori – by breaking through those language barriers and connecting with them in a meaningful way.’’
Hinewairere has accepted a permanent role at the council as an Assistant Programme Coordinator in Te Waka Angamua, the Māori Strategy and Relations department. “The Cadet Programme has helped me develop both personally and professionally and it’s made me aware of my strengths and weaknesses.”
*Case study developed 2015.