From military training into construction  

Every year up to 1000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds graduate from a remarkable military-style programme with a determination to impress future employers.

The Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) course sees unemployed young people put on a six-week military-style programme run by Ministry of Social Development and NZ Defence Force.

Height Project Management CEO, Warner Cowin, was Patron of the LSV course at the RNZAF Base in Auckland last year.

He is passionate about making sure graduates are supported into careers – particularly construction and infrastructure with perennial labour shortages.

‘Poor attitude,’ a ‘lack of motivation,’ ‘entitled,’ and so on, are throwaway terms often used to describe the pool of available young employees, he says.

“The irony from my experience is that my parents used to think the same about me”, he quips.

“Actually, these trainees have the following attributes;

  • Self-starting and self-confident – on time and able to make decisions;
  • Determined – an ability to overcome adversity and challenges;
  • Empathy and love – respect for oneself and empathy for others; and
  • They are team players with a positive attitude towards working as a team member.”

For six weeks, young people who had been out of work, or dropped out of education, commit to transforming their lives.

It easy to generalise and call it a boot camp, says Warner, but it is far deeper than that.

“It helps to build key skills for the workforce such as self-confidence, timekeeping, teamwork, reliability and empathy for others through a series of team-building and physical challenges.

“When we consider the major sector skills shortages, including 70,000 short in the construction sector, contractors should be lining up to recruit this talent pool.”

He urges contractors to become part of this great Kiwi story in changing lives.

Contractor companies can meet young people at the Employee Days, held throughout the years, he says.

And if you’re interested in hiring a candidate, but they need support to gain the required skills for the job, Work and Income may be able to help with a subsidy for things like training or mentoring.

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