Sixteen young people from Kawakawa and Moerewa will have a chance this year to experience first-hand the work of Northland's emergency services.
The Youth in Emergency Services programme was first trialled in 2013-14 in six centres around New Zealand. The only Northland trial was in Kaikohe, where youth took part in six weekend training exercises organised by the Fire Service, Rural Fire, Red Cross, Civil Defence, St John Ambulance, Coastguard and police.
The final weekend saw them test their new skills in a major exercise near Ngawha Springs based on a mock accident involving a light plane, several cars, a missing person and a wildfire. It was the Far North's biggest inter-agency exercise in at least a decade.
An extra $100,000 in funding announced by Youth Minister Nikki Kaye last week means the programme can now be rolled out in 10 more locations around the country, including Kawakawa/Moerewa.
Ms Kaye said the programme opened the door for young people to volunteer or follow a career in emergency services.
"From chatting to communities where the programme has already run, I know what a boost it can be for areas that struggle to find volunteers," she said.
"At the same time, the programme engages young people, helps them learn valuable skills and enables them to serve their community in a meaningful way," she said.
Participants have to be aged 16-19, motivated, eager to learn and ready to tackle new challenges. Candidates will be recruited from schools, youth groups and social service agencies, and can join the service of their choice once they complete the course.
The programme is run by the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.