Case Study: Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetships initiative
The Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetships is an initiative set up to provide Māori who are new to the workforce or with low qualifications, the opportunity to gain work experience, obtain higher level qualifications and build industry networks. Since 2009/2010, 547 Māori have been employed.
The success of the programme is being achieved by partnering with employers in growth industries to recruit, train, mentor and provide at least six months paid employment to Māori cadets. Over 95% of cadets have remained employed with their employers well past the initial six month programme.
As part of the programme, Te Puni Kōkiri provides a $10,000 subsidy (per cadet) to employers in growth industries to employ and support Māori cadets for at least six months. It allows employers flexibility to recruit and support staff in a manner that best meets the needs of their business. It also requires employers to provide training/development.
Employers reported benefits received from participating in the Cadetships initiative include seeing positive change in the cadets, building a specially trained workforce, the positive impact that cadets have in the workplace, and receiving strategic advice from Te Puni Kōkiri about the Māori workforce and how they might best tap into it.
An independent evaluation of the Cadetships initiative indicates that:
- employer-supported cadets have increased their employability
- cadets are gaining access to the labour market, entering into growth industries and skilled occupations, and permanent employment
- unintended results have also included improvements in cadet health, attitudes, peer relationships, and whānau well-being.
One mother of a cadet said, "I have seen my son blossom with new experiences, and the people he has met, the advice they have given him and the leadership which he respects. After working for a few months, he was offered an apprenticeship. When his twin brother asked if he should accept a diesel mechanic apprenticeship or work on the fishing boats, he said "always think of your future - an apprenticeship will set you up with a career and you can always buy a boat later and fish all you want".
Partner employers have also given positive feedback about the initiative. A representative from Fulton Hogan said," In the communities that we work within, it is important to have a good reflection of Māori in management roles. Daily we are dealing with local iwi, and daily we lead and manage large workforces of Māori staff. These cadetships allow us to invest in good staff who we hope will become future leaders in our business."