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Hamilton Youth Worker, Rāniera Takarangi helps to support young people live their best life possible. 

Rāniera, who struggled at school and was unclear what career path to follow, has discovered a thirst for study and a rewarding role he was born to play.

With the support of his employer, Pathways and work-based training provider, Careerforce | Te Pūkenga, Rāniera has now successfully completed an apprenticeship in Whānau, Community and Social Services (Youth Work).

Pathways is a national mental health, addiction and wellbeing services provider, with ‘Real’ being its youth brand. At Real, Rāniera works with young people from 12 – 24 with mild to moderate mental health issues, supporting them and encouraging them to make the right choices in life.

Providing a different pathway is extremely gratifying

Rāniera Takarangi

“I help to provide a different pathway for young people – something that I could have used when I was younger,” says Rāniera, who had his own challenges growing up.

“For me it’s about healing the intergenerational trauma that just continues without being addressed.  Unless people understand and know that there are resources out there to help, things will just continue down the generations.”

The young people who come to Pathways have mild to moderate mental disorders and the team of youth workers take a holistic approach supporting them back to health. Through activity, they teach life skills as well as coping mechanisms to deal with social stresses, anxieties and depression and help to increase confidence. The team advocate for them and help them through the healing process.

“It’s extremely gratifying,” says Rāniera. “It’s priceless when I see the huge changes in people. I have seen people go from not being able to leave the house, to getting into jobs, and into society. It’s awesome.”

Rāniera says he wasn’t too good at school, and didn’t put enough emphasis on his career. He later realised that to be better in his job, he would need to study.

“Studying without being paid put me off, but the apprenticeship was ideal,” says Rāniera. “It was very cool to be able to learn while in paid employment.

“I felt nervous for sure starting the apprenticeship, but once you settle into it, it’s easy to understand, and very doable.”

Support systems available from Pathways and Careerforce

Careerforce Apprenticeship Advisor, Alyssia Paekau supported Rāniera in his learning journey making the process seamless.

“The support from Careerforce has been amazing and Alyssia is outstanding.  She helped me when I didn’t quite understand some of the questions. She also offered to run workshops for myself and others who were doing the same programme.”

Having a supportive organisation behind him, that places a strong emphasis and value on training, also helped. Rāniera thanks Pathways for giving him the opportunity, providing study leave, and allowing time for the group to study together.

The biggest takeaway from the apprenticeship were the self-reflection components.  “A number of modules require you to reflect on what you have done.  It’s also great to be reminded to be culturally sensitive, and inclusive.”

Self-reflection is a significant part of the apprenticeship programme that Rāniera completed.  Apprentices are asked to document their reflections as they support clients in achieving their intended outcomes. Self-reflection helps them make sense of situations at work, so that they can understand what they did well and what they could do better in the future.

Unlike his school experiences, motivation to study wasn’t a problem.  Rāniera describes being in the ‘right head space’ and really wanting to get the Level 4 qualification. “I would think, right, I finished that one. Now, what’s next? What do I need to do?”

Apprenticeship gave Rāniera a thirst to continue studying

Completing the apprenticeship has triggered something in Rāniera to want to learn more. He is already thinking about his next move, and looking at other Careerforce programmes to further his career.

 “I think it’s great to be able to work and earn, and to set yourself up for increased pay and opportunities at work.  The apprenticeship programme was very easy to follow. The modules are well explained and there are plenty of resources.  The support from Careerforce and my advisor was awesome!” he adds.

More information

For more information about Careerforce apprenticeship programmes and the Apprenticeship Boost fund, contact Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga.