Youth Guarantee expanded to 18 and 19 year olds

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

The Government’s Youth Guarantee scheme will be expanded to 18 and 19 year olds from 1 January 2014, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The government established the Youth Guarantee scheme in 2008 for students who find the traditional classroom environment challenging and are at risk of dropping out of school.

It provides fees-free Level 1 and 2 qualifications at tertiary institutions and at trades and services academies, encouraging students to gain practical qualifications that will set them up for a range of career options including in priority trade areas such as carpentry, engineering, horticulture, plumbing, gas-fitting, and brick-and block-laying.

The Youth Guarantee is currently available to 16 and 17 year olds, 15 year-old students with early leaving exemptions, and 18 year-old teen parent beneficiaries.

8900 students enrolled in Youth Guarantee programmes in 2012, with only 7 per cent of students in 2012 having achieving NCEA Level 2 by the time they entered the programme.

“The Youth Guarantee has been very successful at encouraging 16 and 17 year olds to stay engaged in education, completing Level 1 and 2 qualifications instead of dropping out and going on a benefit,” Mr Joyce says.

“However, there are older teenagers aged 18 and 19 who have already dropped out of school, who need a chance to get that vital first level 2 qualification. The expansion of Youth Guarantee will target those young people.

“With Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies, and the new Vocational Pathways, the Government is confident that every single teenager has a fees-free path to a level 3 qualification, giving them access to training and skills for employment.”

Mr Joyce says 18and 19 year olds in Youth Guarantee will be able to access the Student Loan Scheme, for living costs and course-related costs. They will also be eligible for student allowances.

“The expansion of Youth Guarantee will occur at the same time as the Government is making all Level 1 and 2 courses fees-free for 20-24 year olds.

“From 2014 onwards, all New Zealanders below the age of 24 will be able to access fees-free level 1 and 2 courses. Level 1 and 2 courses deliver core foundational skills that provide students with the skills required for higher level vocational study, training and employment,” Mr Joyce says.