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Mahi for Youth caravan ready to hit the road

Caravan Blessing caravan

Hastings District Council’s successful Mahi for Youth programme is going mobile, with a new caravan now ready to hit the road, taking the service to the community.

The programme, which operates from its bright, inviting pop-up shop in the city centre, is focused on the social wellbeing of the district’s young people (aged 16-24) not in employment, education or training (NEET).

Since it started in 2017, 253 rangatahi have been placed into sustainable employment and the NEET rate dropped from 17.4 per cent in 2016 to 14.7 per cent in 2020.

The caravan, Te Waka Eke Noa, is the next step for this programme, allowing the team to reach and connect with young people across the Hastings district, including the smaller villages and rural communities.

Hastings councillor Eileen Lawson acknowledged Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and Eastern Central Community Trust for helping Hastings District Council fund the caravan.

“This caravan will become a focus for our youth, ensuring our Mahi for Youth team is accessible to rangatahi who are looking to get into education and employment – including those who live rurally or are hard to reach.

The programme was recently recognised, being named a finalist in this year’s Local Government EXCELLENCE awards, in the Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities category for Social Wellbeing.

Partners in the Mahi for Youth Programme, including Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, NZ Police, City Assist and Hawke’s Bay District Health Board joined council at Camberley Community Centre this month to bless the caravan before it hits the road.

“It will be used to connect communities at events and community centres, and I look forward to seeing it in and around Hastings for many years to come.”

A key component of the Mahi for Youth programme is the wraparound pastoral care that’s provided for rangatahi and their whānau, and the support that’s given to employers.

Its ultimate aim is to assist youth to become sustainably employed, set on a path to broaden future career prospects with increased confidence and financial independence.

23 June 2021

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