From the treadmill to the staircase – Chris McIvor has a plan for youth in Hawke's Bay that he believes could turn them from "at risk" to chief executives.
His vision was this week recognised by the Government with a $756,800 investment into his fledgling youth employment service Ignite.
Four regions in the North Island have received support from He Poutama Rangatahi to assist youth in attaining employment and education, including Ignite in Te Matau-a-Māui/Hawke's Bay.
Ignite will be led on the ground by its founder McIvor, whose experience working with unemployed youth through the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union will be utilised in a six-week development programme.
Ignite is based at the Hawkes Bay Rugby Academy in Tamatea, premises that McIvor sees as an ideal location for young people who are "starting their journey and looking to grow" when surrounded by people achieving at high levels in sport.
Sport and physical activity will provide the core foundation of the programme, alongside communication, employability skills and mental health.
The programme is open to individuals of all backgrounds, from 15 to 24 years old, who are seeking employment. It will kick off on August 16 and aims to connect 40-50 young people with work per year.
Once the six-week programme is complete, rangatahi will then be connected with jobs and supported for the following six months to ensure the participants are staying in work and enjoying it.
McIvor views this as the programme's key difference to other initiatives like it, and a key to achieving sustainable employment outcomes for rangatahi.
"I like to say then they're off the treadmill of going from one job to another and they're on the staircase and building towards a future they can see quite clearly."
Ignite's stairway approach to employment will mean prioritising industries where rangatahi can pursue "elevator jobs".
By this McIvor means employment where youth can follow a trajectory from the floor to the management office or from being "on the tools" to running their own businesses.
McIvor is grateful to He Poutama Rangatahi for recognising their project and helping Ignite build an initiative of "people helping people".