The career path less travelled

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Everybody remembers their first job. And the learnings are hard-wired into our subconscious. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos jokes that his first job taught him how to crack eggs one handed.

More seriously, I suspect that his Saturday mornings actually taught him each of these top 10 basic job skills:

  1. The importance of time management and of sticking to a schedule.
  2. Attention to detail.
  3. Attitude is all important.
  4. The value of money and earning it.
  5. Communication skills.
  6. Customer service skills and how to keep a customer satisfied.
  7. How to deal with new problems and the unknown.
  8. Learning in new ways and the importance of continued learning.
  9. That work and business is complicated, and systems and processes are required to be successful.
  10. Hard work and going the extra mile trumps smarts nearly every time.

New Zealand franchised businesses directly employ more than 124,200 people. More than simply providing first time employment for many, franchising’s contribution to training, education and career pathing for many New Zealanders is staggering. A first job clearing tables or selling shoes may well help tick off our skills checklist. Some employees then move onto other employment or education. But for others, franchised employment can and does provide a continued career path.

In addition to basic job skills, franchised employment often provides training opportunities from skill or brand specific to formal qualifications underpinned by NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority). Unit standards and qualifications as diverse as a unit standard using a point of sale system, or a National Certificate in Hospitality if working for a café, restaurant or hotel brand, through to The New Zealand Diploma in Financial Services for financial advisers, are among just a few of the options. Training, experience and qualifications can open the doors to higher positions and a career path, all within franchised employment.

True, these skills and qualifications may be gained through corporate employment. However, there are two very specific reasons why following the path less travelled through franchised employment should be recognised and given greater consideration – the scale and nature of New Zealand business, and where you want to head on your career path.

Many franchise systems have developed their own training programmes across the skill and qualification spectrum offering opportunities to upskill and achieve national qualifications while working and earning money. A franchised business operating within one of these systems is able to offer and train staff and provide opportunities, whether they be in Greymouth or Grey Lynn, which as independents they would struggle to afford to or manage to deliver. Additionally, many of these industries simply do not have large or even corporate players, so that learning and development structure is provided by the franchise system.

The second reason is that New Zealand really is a country of small and medium-sized enterprises. We’re a country of entrepreneurs and small businesses. Large corporations are different beasts and if your end goal is to successfully run your own SME, then learning the ropes in one is a far more appropriate grounding. As a franchised employee within a well-structured learning and development environment, you can learn the skills and obtain the qualifications. More importantly, you get to see SME business up close and personal, and can gain a better understanding of, and be better prepared for, your own business ownership.

Franchising in New Zealand is doing a fantastic job training and developing many Kiwis. That can range from the first “jobber” that funds their law degree flipping burgers during university holidays, to the one who stays and works their way up to one day open their own business. Franchised employment should be recognised and encouraged as a career path well suited to the New Zealand way of life.

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Nathan Bonney
Nathan Bonney
Director of Iridium Partners. He can be reached at nathan@iridium.net.nz or 0275-393-022

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