An inaugural programme at EIT Tairāwhiti aims to redirect hundreds of young people who are doing nothing.
The collaboration between EIT Tairāwhiti, Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is called Tu Rangatahi and is targeting more than 600 young people (15 to 24 years) in the NEET (not in employment, education or training) category.
These NEETs include school leavers registered with the MSD.
EIT Tairāwhiti campus director Jan Mogford is excited about the potential of the programme, scheduled to start next month.
“The MSD has recruited 50 NEETs to come along and sample what is available without any pressure.
“We are hoping it will take off and we will continue to run more in the future.”
The new programme was set up after talking to people at MSD who said they didn’t seem to be engaging this group of people, Ms Mogford said.
“We talked about what would inspire them — the activities and careers possibilities we could show them. Many had not set foot on the campus or had no idea about what they could do.”
Te Puni Kokiri was approached and the programme went from a one-day motivation course to seven sessions.
The rangatahi will be fully looked after at the course, which starts in mid-February with sessions once every two weeks.
“It is an action-packed agenda and we will feed them and provide all the safety equipment.”
The first session will be taken by youth life coach Chris Treacher from Hawke’s Bay.
The next session will centre around food and will be based in EIT’s commercial kitchen where participants will make and create food to take home.
Session three is Operation Hydra, where they will learn about a future in the police, armed services or fire brigade.
For the next session, the rangatahi will be taken to the Ruatoria campus where they will learn about panipani — making hand cream from manuka honey and beeswax. They will also make traps, learn a little harakeke raranga (flax weaving) and mau rakau (traditional Maori weaponry), and see what is happening in the hemp-growing course.
The Trades and Technology School will host the next session at which they will get a taste of carpentry, automotive engineering, robotics and drone technology.
Another session will be fitness fun, based at the YMCA.
An inspirational speaker will close the programme, followed by graduation.
Ms Mogford said the programme involved a lot of input from EIT staff to give participants an opportunity to look at all sorts of pathways to work and starting a career.
The majority would have access to scholarships and would be able to enrol in a course that interested them at the end of the programme.
It also provides them with the chance to build networks with others taking part.
“This would not have been able to go ahead without massive input from EIT, MSD and TPK staff.”