Four Whanganui young people have had a boost in self-confidence and motivation after completing a Limited Service Volunteers (LSV) course.
Maia Rauhina (19), Cole McKenzie (21), Jordan Kake (19) and Joseph Martini-Rerekura (18) participated in a six-week voluntary course for 17 to 24-year-olds at Burnham Military Camp.
The course, organised by Work and Income and run by the NZ Defence Force, aims to improve self-discipline, self-confidence and motivation.
Maia said her biggest challenge was speaking in front of people but she "got over that".
"I was chosen to perform in front of the whole company of 100 and after doing that I felt comfortable with public speaking," Maia said.
She has since found work with a national food distributor in Queenstown.
Cole, who also gained confidence in public speaking on the course, said even when he found the course difficult he kept going.
"I really loved the experience and it got me out of my shell a lot more," Cole said.
"It's a great experience and I would recommend it to friends."
Jordan, who has been offered a plumbing apprenticeship, said the highlight for him was a 30km march where he had to carry an additional bag when a friend's shoulder was injured.
"This course made me fit as," Jordan said.
"It gave me heaps of motivation to do press ups every night. My favourite day was the march, carrying two packs. I was walking up steep hills but still waiting for the rest of my platoon to catch up.
"I recommend you going there if you want a change or are looking at doing something for yourself and you want to be a better person."
Joseph said his favourite part of the course was the sports day with the whole company.
The four volunteers attended a graduation ceremony at the Whanganui District Council chamber on Wednesday where they were recognised by Mayor Hamish McDouall, Work and Income staff and local employers.
Gloria Campbell, regional commissioner for Work and Income, said she was always amazed at the change the course made to young people who attended.
"This course gives you the skills and attitude to move forward and that's what you need if you want to succeed in the job market," Campbell said.
"It also gives you a sense of self-esteem, achievement, discipline and motivation. These are really good life skills for employers and will help you through the future.
"Today you have an awesome opportunity and it's up to you to make that into a positive future and Work and Income will support you to do that."
Employers from Sport Whanganui and Axiam Plastics spoke about what employers are looking for, which is to be self-managed, confident, organised and enthusiastic.
McDouall said he had often met graduates from the LVS course who had gone on to do other study and work.
"This can only be a springboard to employment and training and not the end point," McDouall said.
"Aim high, aim for your dreams. You've got your life ahead of you, you are strong and you can do anything."