Students constructed dog kennels which were given to animal shelters. Front, from left, Jamie Karaitiana and Montelle Gray-Hohepa. Back, from left, Stacey-Anne Sheary, Hannah McCalley and Mikayla Northcott.
Students can try 10 different careers in 19 weeks in a new course which aims to reduce unemployment and offer greater opportunities for Mahurangi youth.
Mahurangi Technical Institute started the Keystep course this year after successful pilots at other institutes in Auckland.
Each week students get experience in industries including construction, carpentry, hospitality, maritime work and the auto-mechanics. At the end of the course, they graduate with a national certificate in employment, Site Safe construction certificate, food safety certificate and barista experience.
There are 16 students currently enrolled with a second intake on May 11.
MTI manager Adrian Paarman says it is to help youth who don’t have qualifications to get started on a career path.
“There is a lack of opportunities for people to start careers in this area so this gives them that first step. They get to try things they had never considered and many of the students are now starting a career that they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. At the end of the course, we sit down and look at what worked for them and help them create a plan to progress with a career path.”
Stacey-Anne Sheary, 24, was unemployed for four months before starting the course after it was recommended by Work and Income NZ.
“I was sick of being at home every day feeling depressed. It’s great to get out of the house and meet people. I’m gaining confidence and doing things I never thought I would do. I feel like a different person now.”
Hannah McCalley, 19, has been looking for work as a hairdresser for about a year after studying hairdressing.
“Work places haven’t been willing to even give me a chance. But I think I have more options now, after doing the course. Every week we are taking on new challenges. It gets you motivated.”
The course is free for students, funded through the government Youth Guarantees scheme.
Rodney Women’s Centre coordinator Colleen Julian says a lack of training opportunities in the area has been a real barrier for women looking to get into skilled employment, up-skill or change careers.
“A lot of mothers can’t afford to move to Auckland to do a course. This makes a huge difference to the opportunities available for people in the area.”