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Youth programmes changing lives one job at a time

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Creating better pathways for young people to get into employment, education and training is an important focus for the Hastings District Council, which has had significant success in this area over the last two years.

Hawke’s Bay has one of the highest NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) rates in the country, a situation recognised both locally and by central government.

In 2012, the issue prompted the formation of the Hawke’s Bay Youth Futures Trust, the purpose of which was to have all young people aged 16 to 24 in the region employed or in education or training, with a particular emphasis on those in extra need of a helping hand.

Since that time the trust has guided and supported Hastings District Council’s efforts in this area, which along with central government funding support through He Poutama Rangatahi, has resulted in the establishment of a growing team of youth, employer and whanau connectors.

In the last two years the youth connectors have engaged with more than 300 young people, placing 177 into employment and training and there are currently 41 job seekers with 101 needing further support.

These rangatahi have received assistance with anything from gaining a drivers licence to preparing a CV, interview skills and work-appropriate clothing.

They have also been connected to pre-employment programme providers in the region.

One young Hastings man who has found a new sense of direction since being involved with the council’s programmes is 21-year-old Wayne Caccioppoli.

For the last year Wayne has taken part in the sessions offered by council’s pre-employment providers learning the likes of goal-setting, budgeting, conflict resolution, people and communication skills.

He was also supported to take part in a six-week Limited Service Volunteer military course, which has inspired him to apply to join the Navy, with a view to working in the engineering, carpentry or medic fields.

In preparation he is brushing up on his literacy and numeracy through Learning Innovations and he has secured a six-month work experience role with Nourished for Nil through the council’s Rangatahi Ma Kia Eke project, delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development.

“Before I got involved with the council I was not going to get anywhere,” Wayne said.

“I was hanging out with the wrong people and doing things I should not have been doing. Now I feel like I have got some direction.”

Youth Futures Trust chairman George Reedy said it was satisfying to see the traction the initiative was gaining and the difference it was making for young people.

“We are changing the lives of young people one job at a time.”

The momentum was expected to continue over the next six months with plans to create a Youth Employment pop-up in the Hastings CBD, a mobile service so the council team can cover the entire Hastings district, and further applications for government funding.

Photo: With his new-found sense of direction Wayne Caccioppoli is looking to apply to join the Navy, and says he is reading a lot more as he brushes up on his literacy skills in preparation.

16 August 2019

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