Cadetships: Helping improve job satisfaction and business performance

“The people are what I love most about this job”, said Dre Davis, Downer apprentice water serviceman and cadet, when he was asked about his role and his placement as a cadet through the Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetship Programme.

Published: Tuesday, 16 January 2024 | Rātū, 16 Kohitātea, 2024

Te Puni Kōkiri Cadetship Programme supports employers to advance the careers and earnings of their Māori kaimahi. This is achieved through on-the-job training, wānanga, mentoring and supporting their Māori capability.

Downer, one of the largest employers involved in Cadetships, has 12 different programmes operating, working with Māori kaimahi (employees) across the life and career/qualifications stages.

Dre is one of their kaimahi rangatahi who is thriving both in his career and in life because of his cadetship journey. The programme has taught him new skills, helped him develop a healthy outlook on life and keeps him focused and on track with career and life mahi and goals.

Dre was asked about any advice he would give kaimahi considering becoming a cadet.

“I’ve learned you have to apply yourself to get the help you’re looking for,” he said.

“If I had started with Downer a different way, I might not have known about any of this stuff or experienced these courses.

“I can’t really explain it – I have a feeling of self-belief. I’d advise others doing this to have fun. You have to enjoy the opportunity because you’re always going to be working, but your course is only so long so make the most of it.”

Businesses participating in Cadetships have been recognised as employers of choice for Māori according to a 2021 Te Puni Kōkiri survey. By employers actively supporting the upskilling of their cadets, this has improved kaimahi retention leading to improvements in overall business performance.

The survey of participating employers involved in the programme since 2015 highlighted its success:

  • 94 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that the programme had prepared cadets for their careers in the long term;
  • 90 per cent of cadets were still employed at the same organisation;
  • 88 per cent of cadets received additional on-the-job training within the organisation;
  • 88 per cent of cadets received a pay rise,
  • 76 per cent of employers said that cadets were better equipped to face challenges in their work than other employees who had not completed the programme, and
  • 74 per cent of employers said their organisation had benefited from participating in the programme.

Participating businesses and kaimahi, like Dre, are reaping the rewards. They’re improving outcomes for their organisations and investing in their futures, with the ultimate goal of building a sustainable, resilient and inclusive Māori economy.

Find more information here on Te Puni Kōkiri Māori Cadetship Programme.

Organisations interested in applying for the Māori Cadetships Programme can contact their local Te Puni Kōkiri office where staff can assist with applications.