A new course in Carterton is hoping to propel teens into jobs and better futures.
The new zero-fees Service Sector Programme offered by the Carterton Salvation Army is offering teens who struggle in mainstream education the chance to gain NCEA Level 1 and 2, and practical skills to help them into employment.
Tutor Kirsty Winter said the course, which is open for enrolments now, would help prepare young people for the work environment.
"It's for those who don't really do well in mainstream school systems and may be more practical learners and find the school structure a bit tedious."
"It's about putting building blocks in place so that they are transitioning from school to the work environment and where they are gaining skills that they can use in working situations."
Mrs Winter, who has taught at UCOL in Masterton and has a background in hospitality, tourism and counselling, said the programme, which is funded by the Ministry of Education and supported by the Kiwi Next Generation initiative, was aiming to fill a gap in the youth training sector.
The two-year course is open to 16- to 19-year-olds and runs for 40 weeks over four terms, with students able to enrol at any time.
Travel assistance is available and pupils will also receive mentoring to support their learning and confidence.
The course has a retail, hospitality and tourism focus but organisers hope to also run more courses focusing on other areas.
Carterton Salvation Army Lieutenant Logan Bathurst said some pupils could be amazingly bright but were just not suited to independent learning: "The school system isn't for everybody so, if we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some of these young people, that will be with them for life, and hopefully we can take a youth who struggled in school and by the end of the course have them ready to take up a job somewhere."
The programme would also encourage personal development, confidence and social skills, Mr Bathurst said.