Education & Employment

40 years of mission

Education and Employment, New Zealand’s longest running private training establishment!
Education and Employment, New Zealand’s longest running private training establishment!

This year marks 40 years of The Salvation Army’s Education and Employment (E&E) service. Although the service has evolved over the years to meet education trends and employment needs, the motivation of ‘transforming lives’ has been the constant over the decades.

E&E is passionate about transforming lives, helping thousands of people into brighter futures with credits toward nationally-recognised qualifications, job training, job placement, life skills, and work ethics that help people get ahead. 80,000 people to date, and counting!

At the heart of E&E is the philosophy that each person has great potential—no matter their upbringing or current situation. E&E shares The Salvation Army’s DNA, and is a major contributor in the efforts to achieve the Territory’s mission.

Employment has been a major focus of the Army since its founding in 1865; but more formally in New Zealand from 1978, partnering with the government on initiatives that see people trained and employed. E&E is New Zealand’s longest running private training establishment – check out E&E’s journey below:

Timeline of Salvation Army training in NZ


Dunedin, working with the plight of unemployed.


Auckland Salvationists providing services for discharged prisoners.


During the great depression, one of the more imaginative Army initiatives was in Tauranga working with unemployed Māori, introducing them to the fishing industry and teaching the skills required.

Mid-20th century

Young unemployed women of Tauranga were helped into the clothing industry with practical skills. Current Life Skills modules have been developed from these early initiatives.

Formal partnership with the government—Community Work Schemes


The Army offers the government’s Department of Labour its resources to run the first Community Work Scheme of its type—first established in Tauranga, boasting impressive job placement rates of 60%. Iterations of these programmes popped up throughout the Bay of Plenty during the late ̓70s, continuing to spread throughout the North Island, and Christchurch, under the Temporary Employment Scheme programme name.


Work Skills Development Programme—working with the Department of Labour, 50 schemes were in operation around the country.


The Salvation Army takes on the government’s national Training Assistance Programme.


The Salvation Army Employment Programmes are located in more than 40 centres across the country, from Kaitāia to Invercargill; delivering the substantial government initiative, ACCESS. The number of students on the Army’s programmes exceeds 1500 nationwide.


The government’s ACCESS Training for Employment Scheme is phased out and replaced with the Training Opportunities Programme. The Salvation Army Employment Programmes continues as a major service provider. The Salvation Army adopts the name ‘Training and Employment Programme’.


The Salvation Army Training and Employment Programme becomes the largest private training provider in NZ. Annually, 3000 clients enrol in some 150+ courses spread across 37 locations.

March 2000

Employment Plus launched.


Expansion of youth initiatives funded by the government. Youth transition programmes, Gateway and Modern Apprenticeships. Employment Plus is a major deliverer. The Employment Plus Charter was approved up to the year 2010 by the Tertiary Education Commission. Main directive of the initiative was to develop initiatives for Māori and Pacific people.

April 2014

‘Education & Employment’ launched to reflect both programme areas appropriately.


Why employment is important to mission

From its earliest times The Salvation Army has maintained a charter of assisting people to find food, shelter and employment. The book In Darkest England and The Way Out, written by one of The Salvation Army’s founders General William Booth, contains the detail of a comprehensive plan or campaign designed to assist the poor, homeless, and unemployed.

The famous Cab Horse Charter resulted from William Booth’s observations that the horses that pulled London cabs in the 1800s were provided with food, shelter and work, and he was determined to ensure that these most basic of needs were provided to men and women, too.

One of the first of the subsidiary enterprises of the Darkest England scheme was the establishment of a match factory. This was undertaken to fight two evils:

  1. the use of phosphorous in making match heads
  2. underpayment of employees.

Not only was contact with the forms of phosphorous then-used toxic, but also the inhalation of fumes caused disease. Necrosis, or commonly ‘Phossy Jaw’, attacked the bones of the face, causing them to rot with accompanying horrible disfigurement and fearful swelling. The big match-making firms of the day were fully aware of these evils, but callously refused to take any steps to remedy them—making no secret of the fact that they did so because it would have meant lessening profits.

On 11 May 1891, the General opened a match factory at Old Ford. Matches made were of the safety type and no phosphorous was used. The wages paid were fair. Cooperative Societies and other large concerns sold the Darkest England match boxes and they soon became the norm.

Other Army employment industries were basket and brush making, tin smithery, carpentry, joinery, tambourine making, upholstery, cabinet making, carpet weaving, French polishing, signwriting, wood carving, mattress making, tailoring, preparation of fire wood, bakery, making of seats for halls, mat making, and sandwich board carrying.

The Labour Bureau

The Salvation Army opened the first labour bureau in the United Kingdom on 16 June 1890. The plan was set out to be a:

  1. central registry office—registering unemployed people and the employment requirements of employers
  2. public waiting rooms—where men and women could job hunt
  3. service throughout Great Britain’s large towns and where industry was.

By the end of the first year, 15,697 unemployed men and 14,045 employers’ applications for workers had been registered. By 1897, 69,119 had found employment through the labour bureau. 18,039 people had been employed by Darkest England factories. Five years later this number exceeded 150,000.


Download the 40 years of mission booklet here.


Currently, E&E provides a range of programmes across the country. Click here to learn what’s offered where.