What is Gateway? Who participates? What is involved? We sit down with Miss Rapson to find out the details of the Gateway programme.
"Miss Rapson, tell us about Gateway at JMC"
RRA: "Well, Gateway is a subject that Year 12 and 13 students can take if they are keen on getting work experience in an industry that is 'hands on'. This could be anything from trades to IT, hospitality to banking. They have a work experience placement as well as gain credits towards NCEA by completing unit standards such as putting together a CV, doing a practice job interview, and looking at the rights and responsibilities of flatting".
"I see. And what is the purpose of the programme?"
RRA: "Our goal is to provide a 'gateway' for students who are looking to make the transition into the workforce in some form or another. This could be through an apprenticeship, full-time employment, or a Polytechnic course. We hope that if students apply to Gateway and are accepted, they will take the opportunities that come with it. This means if they are offered an apprenticeship that they would be ready to accept it. This doesn't mean we want to push students out the door if they are not ready, but the purpose of the programme is to provide pathways and opportunities for students to make connections in the workforce and make that important transition".
"How many students go on to gain apprenticeships or do a Polytechnic course?"
RRA: "It can depend on the year, to be honest, but if a student is really determined and shows they are interested from an early stage then employers certainly take notice. Right now, the trades are desperate for more workers in Dunedin with a number of new construction projects happening over the next few years. They say Dunedin hasn't seen a boom like this since the gold rush days - so that tells us that it is a really great time to be getting into a trade here."
"If someone were keen to do Gateway next year, what would they need to do?"
RRA: "They would need to fill out an application form when they come out towards the end of Term 3. From there, they will have an interview with me to make sure they are the right fit for the programme, and that they understand how it all works. Once all applicants have been interviewed they will be notified if they have gained a place in Gateway for the following year. There are limited places though, so, unfortunately, we cannot take everyone who applies.
"What are you looking for in a Gateway applicant?"
RRA: "We want people in the programme who are enthusiastic, and who will work well in the workforce. They need to have good time management skills as well as be polite and hard working. The more enthusiastic they appear to be to their employer, the more likely it is for them that they will be offered an apprenticeship or work at the end".
"Thank you for giving us an insight into Gateway, Miss Rapson. Do you have any last words for us?"
RRA: "Yes! Give it a go. A hands-on career will give you a real feeling of satisfaction when you get home at the end of the day - and University isn't for everyone nor does it guarantee you a job at the end. Using Gateway to get your foot in the door with a business could be the smartest decision you've ever made".