Working to let youth develop in Taranaki

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 02/12/2013
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ROBERT CHARLES
YOUTH INVESTMENT: Taranaki Futures Chairman Graham Wells

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An initiative has been set up to help youngsters find a career that will keep them in the province.

Taranaki Futures has an establishment board set up and its first project, Build a Bach, will start in the new year.

Establishment board chairman Graham Wells said Taranaki Futures was designed to provide people with a pathway to a career which is hopefully going to give them job opportunities without having to leave the province and go to university.

So much of the education system is about the need to go to university to get a meaningful education, he said.

"What we are trying to do is bring together secondary schools, tertiary providers and employers and say, hey this is a wonderful place we live in and so many people have been successful over the years and developed careers either by not going to university when they leave school or going to university later on."

It is not a negative to decide on a career that doesn't involve university study, he said.

About 30 per cent of high school students go to university and of them, only half have a degree after five years - but most of them have a student loan.

"We believe with the job opportunities we have here in Taranaki, there's a pathway that can deliver far better results not just for the individual but for our province."

The plan is to have different industry groups provide young people with something to aim at, to give them something to focus on, rather than just thinking 'I can't go to university so I'll just go to school to eat my lunch', Mr Wells said.

"Youngsters can go to one place and talk to different people who will represent different sectors of industry and they can be channelled in a direction that best suits them."

New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young said a number of skilled people in the province will retire in the next 10 to 15 years.

"So for our future technical wellbeing, we want to have young people who are going to replace them."

He wants representatives from construction companies, engineering and other trades to be involved with the project.

"We want to be loud and proud about those trades."

Taranaki Futures' first project is Build a Bach, which will involve the students from the Trade Academy - secondary school students who go to Witt one day a week - building a bach.

It will be built to industry standards and eventually sold, with the funds going towards the next project.

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Pace engineering boss Steve Day, who is on the Taranaki Futures Board, has just been appointed to the board of Careers New Zealand.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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