College shifts focus to workplace
The South Canterbury Community College has started this year without its 26 week computing and cafe skills courses but has gained an additional 20 training-for-work places.
Funding was lost when Foundation-Focused Training Opportunities was scrapped by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).
Foundation programmes awarded credits but the focus is now on getting people into work rather than training them.
The training-for-work programme takes Work and Income clients or self referrals, aged 18 and over, offers intensive training and connects them with employers.
The 13-week course involves some generic classroom work, such as health and safety, but primarily gives individualised help to get people work ready said college manager Andrea Armstrong.
That includes interview skills, personal presentation and meeting with suitable employers.
"We work with individuals to increase their chances of being attractive to an employer."
Providers also build networks with local employers, listening to what employers need.
"We've got some excellent networks happening."
The extra places have also created a new position.
The two male and female co-ordinators were working very well together "so it's a very energetic atmosphere ... if anybody can do it they can do it."
"I'm excited, I think we'll get results if the economy allows. We welcome any approaches from businesses out there."
She said businesses benefit by being able to trial an employee who is ready for work experience. At the end of 13 weeks the college continues to give post placement support, with regular follow-ups with the employees, and with employers if needed.
The aim was to get people into permanent sustainable employment and get people off the benefit.
She said former college trainees tended to keep in touch and were also seen in their place of employment, so the college could see positive results.
Those that did not remain in employment were referred back to the programme.
"It's not a regular thing but it is a requirement for the benefit."
She said the downside with losing the computer and cafe courses was that those students were longer-term classroom (not workplace) based, and the adult participants added balance to the now youthful student base at the college.