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Key workplace competencies

Skills or competencies that help you get and then keep a job.

Key workplace competencies are important for all students, not just those going directly into work after leaving school. These competencies are diverse and can include specialist or technical skills, work readiness skills, and more general ‘soft’ people and relationship management skills.

Employability skills build on the key competencies in The New Zealand Curriculum to help students understand how these competencies ‘look and feel’ in the workplace. Workplace competencies are best developed in authentic contexts, like work experience, however, there a range of ways to contextualise learning and introduce the world of work into the curriculum from year 7. Your school Careers Advisor is a good place to start for ideas about how to do this.

Employability Skills | Ngā Pūkenga Whai Mahi

In 2016 a group of government agencies, business and education sector representatives worked together to develop a common understanding of what key soft or relationship management skills are in the work place. Their work was developed and tested with a range of potential users, including secondary students, employers, secondary teachers, careers advisers, and employment case managers.

The employability skills they identified are:

  • A positive attitude | Waiaro pai
  • Communication | Whitiwhiti kōrero
  • Team work | Mahi ngātahi
  • Self-management | Whakahaere-whaiaro
  • Willingness to learn | Ngā pūkenga whaakaro
  • Thinking skills | He hiahia ki te ako
  • Resilience | Pakaritanga.

More detailed descriptions of these skills can be found at Employability Skills Framework and Pou Tarāwaho Pūkenga Whai Mahi. You can find posters, templates and activity sheets on Employability Skills for educators and students on the Careers NZ website.

Why are employability skills important?

Work readiness skills

Specialist or technical skills