The Graeme Dingle Foundation has partnered with Claymark, New Zealand's leading premium radiata pine exporter, to support local students.
Claymark will provide programme support for up to 800 local students within the Bay of Plenty.
With a 25-year history and an unwavering commitment to the future of Aotearoa, the Graeme Dingle Foundation delivers well-researched programmes to more than 4300 young people across the Bay of Plenty, teaching them the soft skills needed to be successful in the workplaces and communities of the future.
The foundation's Western Bay of Plenty manager Dan Allen-Gordon has been at the forefront of its work across the Bay for more than 18 years and knows how much of a difference the support makes.
"Change is so rapid that today's rangatahi will work in jobs that don't even exist yet. It's more important than ever that we support them to find their pathways," he said.
"Our work not only improves the social fabric of the region but has significant long-term economic benefits. Every dollar invested in the Graeme Dingle Foundation programmes gives an average $7.80 return to New Zealand."
In Te Puke, the foundation's primary and intermediate school programme, Kiwi Can, has had an impact on students, Allen–Gordon said.
"There have been less behaviour incidents recorded in the school due to students learning how to become more resilient, understand differences, co-operate and voice opinions appropriately.
"Students [are] making reference to Kiwi Can lessons and what they have learned when they are back in their classrooms.
"Katikati College has asked for Project K since 2009, it's taken this long to find an amazing partner to come on board to give us this opportunity," Allen-Gordon said.
Claymark is a New Zealand-owned business supplying the global market with high-value timber products, employing more than 500 staff at processing sites throughout the central North Island including Rotorua, Katikati, Thames and Te Kuiti.
Claymark executive director Paul Pedersen said: "Claymark recognise the great importance of supporting our community long term.
"Our investment in rangatahi comes with a genuine desire to consistently invest in the future of this region. Young people really are the future, and Claymark are excited to see their successes and hope that they can feel empowered to succeed and give back to our beautiful Bay of Plenty.
"We know the impact the foundation's programmes have, not just for the students, but for the entire community."