A two-year pilot programme with a strong focus on Ōtaki rangatahi aged between 15-24 has received $995,000 from the He Poutama Rangatahi initiative, a fund managed by the Provincial Development Unit.
Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni announced the Council-led Te Hunga Rangatahi pilot programme will receive the funding to support youth who are most at risk of long-term unemployment and who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), including those transitioning from school that are needing extra support.
More than $4.3m from the Government's He Poutama Rangatahi fund will support seven community programmes in Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Tairāwhiti, Manawatū-Whanganui and Kāpiti to provide pastoral care and pre-employment training over two years.
"The wellbeing of our rangatahi is crucial to the future success of our communities," Sepuloni said.
"This significant investment is about supporting young people to gain the skills they need to thrive."
The pilot programme will be based in Ōtaki and launched in February, led by the Kāpiti Coast District Council in partnership with Work Ready Kāpiti, Te Puna Oranga o Ōtaki and Ministry of Social Development.
Growing skills and capability is one of the five strategic pillars of the Economic Development Strategy and Implementation Plan 2020-23, with a strong focus on pathways for rangatahi/young people.
Councillor Angela Buswell who holds the business and jobs portfolio holder said Work Ready Kāpiti will be contracted to manage the delivery of the programme with partners and other providers.
"Work Ready Kāpiti already has a strong record in our district of providing work ready passports, training and work experience."
Work Ready Kāpiti Board chairman Bryan Gundersen said the pilot programme builds in holistic pastoral care, with every young person supported by expertise and mentors.
"Te Hunga Rangatahi is designed so that every young person on the programme will get wrap-around wellbeing support and skills training.
"They will get an opportunity to get both their learners and restricted drivers licences too, and receive 12 months' pastoral care from the day they start the programme."
Te Puna Oranga o Ōtaki will be responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of the wellbeing component based on the whare tapa wha model for health, which will begin and end at the marae.
"Having the opportunity to be on local marae will provide experiences to learn tikanga Māori," Te Puna Oranga o Ōtaki board chair Kiwa Raureti said.
"It fosters a sense of belonging to a strong Māori community and enables our rangatahi to be part of the contributions that the ART Confederation (Ātiawa, Raukawa, Toa) have made to the wider district."
Kaumātua for Te Puna Oranga o Ōtaki Rawiri Rikihana said, "The name Te Hunga Rangatahi places our youth at the centre, celebrating the essence of their being and supporting their sacred space as the next generation".