Rotorua's Karl Perez wants to be an engineer one day and is hoping a leadership programme he is involved in will help him gain more confidence towards achieving that dream.

The John Paul College student is among about 15 Year 12 students taking part in the inaugural OneChance Youth Project - a 10-week leadership programme being facilitated by Rotorua's Alan Solomon.

Mr Solomon came up with the idea more than two years ago during the middle of the night when he was woken up while on a boat in China.

He approached the Rotorua Youth Centre and the programme was launched last week.


He said the programme would run from 9am to 3.30pm every Wednesday and was run through the Gateway scheme. Students come from some of the city's high schools, including John Paul College, Rotorua Girls' High School and Rotorua Boys' High School, and will learn leadership and team building skills and various communication skills including public and impromptu speaking.

Mr Solomon said the aim of the course was to inspire the students to achieve their dreams and goals, partly by helping others achieve their dreams.

He has organised a series of guest speakers to motivate the students.

At the end of the programme the students will have to organise a youth motivation seminar, finding their own sponsorship and inspirational guest speakers.

During the first session the students brainstormed and came up with a list of 40 potential guest speakers which they now have to contact.

Those who complete the course will gain a Level 3 Certificate in Youth Leadership which equates to 12 credits.

Mr Solomon said if the first course was a success he'd like to run it again next year and see it introduced in other parts of New Zealand.

Karl said he enjoyed the first day of the course. He is taking part in it after his Year 12 dean told him he had the attributes of a leader. He admitted he was a bit nervous at the start of the first day. "I was picked to be one of the course leaders for the week. My job involved delegating and supervising the other students in the course."

Karl said he wanted to be an engineer when he left school and believed the OneChance Youth Project would help him gain confidence as he was quite shy.

"It will also help me in talking to people because I don't talk much."