New Plymouth leads the way again in youth initiative

Some of the graduates and mentors who attended the Accelerator Programme celebration.
Rebecca Inns

Some of the graduates and mentors who attended the Accelerator Programme celebration.


It was a well-earned celebration on the final night of the inaugural Accelerator Programme launched by New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young alongside Taranaki Futures and the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce in April this year.

A full house of more than 120 parents, business mentors, coaches and school representatives attended the celebration on Monday, June 4. 

"Accelerator exceeded all expectations,"  MP for New Plymouth Jonathan Young said.  "Local businesses did not hesitate to put their hand up to be part of this programme to mentor our next generation of leaders, and that just re-enforces the incredible collaborative approach to invest in our youth by our local businesses."

The success of Accelerator has spread quickly with others keen to get on board. "We have been approached by several other regions in New Zealand who want the Accelerator Programme rolled out in their towns and cities, and we are proud that such a great initiative was started in Taranaki."

Accelerator involved six local high schools. With only 53 placements available for the 96 applications for the programme, it will need to grow in 2017.

"The feedback has been extremely positive from businesses, schools and students and it shows Accelerator is providing that vital link between education and employment,"  Young said. "We have been asked by schools to double the student numbers next year so we have some work to do to get more local businesses on board."

Students each received an Accelerator Completion Certificate and reference letter from the Accelerator Programme at the celebration. 

 "Accelerator has given me the opportunity to really be sure about what I want to do when I leave school, and spending time in a professional work environment has given me invaluable experience for the future," Lucy Byers, a year 13 student from New Plymouth Girls High School said. "I'm so thankful to have been involved in the Accelerator programme, and to everyone that was involved in the organisation of the programme."

New Plymouth Boys High School student Corbin Giddy was placed with Tasman Toyota.

"By doing the Accelerator programme I am able to improve my leadership skills, as well as allowing me to make contacts with some of the most influential leaders in Taranaki."

Accelerator was a pilot programme that ran for nine weeks throughout term two, for senior secondary students.  It provided them with placement in  local businesses, alongside a leadership development programme led by Accelerator coaches. The aim was to help young people experience the real business world in order to gain awareness of the opportunities in Taranaki, begin to define their goals for their career and help them in their tertiary course selections.


To get more information about the Accelerator Programme contact Jonathan Young MPs office on 06-7591363 or email

 - Stuff

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