Youth training programmes get the go-ahead

  • Steve Maharey

The government has given the go-ahead next year for two pilot schemes to assist teenagers from low-income families to study courses at Telford Rural Polytechnic in Balclutha and the Westport Deep Sea Fishing School.

The pilots will involve up to 57 teenagers, aged 16 or 17, who have not completed Year 13 at school, and who need to live away from home to pursue training. They will be given a Targeted Training Grant to assist with living costs while they attend the courses. The programmes will be evaluated and expanded if successful in future years.

Associate Education Minister (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey said the pilot programme is part of the plan to provide all 15 to 19 year olds with education, training, work or other options by 2007.

“The Targeted Training Grant pilot programme aims to assist a group of young people often overlooked – teenagers from low income families who have left school, don’t qualify for benefits and are unable afford to pay living costs to undertake study away from home.

“It is expected that most of the young people assisted will study for the National Certificate in Equine Studies at Telford Rural Polytechnic, while the Westport Deep Sea Fishing School offers national certificates in seafood processing and vessel operations. Both providers have built solid reputations turning around the lives of young people, setting them up to succeed in practically-based careers.

“The Targeted Training Grant will ensure that cost is not a barrier to participation in these training courses by covering most of the student’s accommodation and board costs," Steve Maharey said.

Associate Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor said the pilot programme recognised the importance of primary based industry in New Zealand.

"This programme will provide a significant financial incentive for young people from rural areas to learn skills in the industry. It also recognises the value and success of Telford and the Fishing School," Damien O’Connor said.

Students interested in applying for grants at Telford should contact TEC’s Dunedin office on (03) 477 4684, while those wishing to apply for a grant to attend the Westport Deep Sea Fishing School should contact TEC’s Nelson office on (03) 546 8198.