14 Aug 2017

Labour promises to drive students towards 'vital life skills'

12:49 pm on 14 August 2017

The Labour Party is promising to introduce driving classes for all high school students as part of a new 'school leavers' toolkit' unveiled today.

Jacinda Ardern on a visit to her hometown of Morrinsville. 10 August 2017.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Students would also receive budgeting advice and professional personalised career advice before finishing school under the plan.

At the policy launch in Auckland today, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said some schools already did this, but the approach was ad hoc.

"Our teachers and schools do a great job of teaching our children core knowledge and learning skills. Our education system is one of the best in the world," she said.

"However, the Future of Work Commission identified the need to do better in giving young people the practical skills that they need, in the workplace, in their day- to-day lives, and as members of the community. Businesses say they need young workers with these skills.

As well as the push for driving education, the toolkit is designed to equip school leavers with "vital life skills", including having key workplace competencies, having financial literacy and budgeting skills and knowing their democratic rights and responsibilities.

About 70 percent of entry-level jobs in Auckland required applicants to have a driver licence, Ms Ardern said.

Under the policy, all students would be offered five free hours of professional driving lessons, a defensive driving course, and free testing.

A recent pilot programme conducted by Massey University at Central Hawke's Bay High School had been highly successful, Ms Ardern said.

Last month, a group of provincial mayors called on the government to fund driver education for year 12 students, saying it was a barrier to employment.

Ms Ardern said these are all important skills in adult life, the government needed to do more to ensure young people were equipped with them.

"Our young people need a world-leading education, and the skills to live in the real world. Labour will ensure they have both."

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