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“Drug and alcohol issues, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are some of the challenging issues our rangatahi deal with every day,” says Nicky Mapp, Programme Manager at Hawke’s Bay’s Ignite Youth Employment.

She and her team take young people from the ages of 15 to 24 on a six-week programme that involves leadership, self-awareness and confidence building mixed in with physical activity to help get them into employment, education or training.

Nicky Mapp with other members of the Ignite team. Nicky is on the right.

Level 5 Business Diploma helps Nicky be a better manager

Thanks to a Careerforce supported Management programme, Nicky is now on her own learning journey, to help become a better leader for her team, as they support youth on the programme.  Nicky is currently completing a Diploma in Business (Level 5) Leadership and Management.

The mother with three children and a full-time job, says people thinks she is crazy. “But I really enjoy the study. It opens my mind and keeps my brain working.  I’ve also got Careerforce to go back to if I find anything challenging.”

Nicky has always gravitated towards the youth age group, experiencing some of these issues, as a teenager herself. “I have a real passion for rangatahi and helping them succeed and achieve their goals. To see some of them going through the same things I did, I just want to help and guide them to the right place and get somewhere in life. It’s just an amazing feeling being able to help.”

“We deal with a broad range of youth with all sorts of problems.  No NCEA qualifications. A drug or alcohol issue. They may be on the autism spectrum. It’s about finding the next step in life for them.

“The six-week programme she takes her rangatahi through, has a big focus on exercise and activities such as gym sessions, box fit and outdoor tramps. We motivate rangatahi into getting fitter, which in turn builds their confidence, and really challenges them. At the end of the programme, we aim to find them employment or a pathway to education or training.  We then provide pastoral care for six months to make sure they’re happy with where they’re at and where they’re going.”

“You build some really good relationships with these young people.  Sometimes you see someone you’ve worked with some time ago in the street and they come up to you and give you a hug. They are just so grateful. It’s amazing, some of the stories I hear.”

Doing the Business Programme makes your job easier

Nicky enrolled in the Level 5 Diploma with Careerforce early in 2022 because she wanted to develop as a manager and help grow ‘Ignite’, still very much a fledgeling organisation.  Although she had management experience, it was in an operational role, and not as a strategic manager.  She wanted to make the most of her new position, and find out what she could be doing better.

“It’s been fantastic, I’ve got a really good Careerforce assessor (Regan Cotter) who is just awesome, and I’ve been able to relate the stuff that I’ve done in my job back to my course. We have regular meetings about the programme discussing where I’m at and talking over the tasks. If I’m unclear about anything, I just email him, and he comes back to me pretty much within 24 hours.

“There are definitely things I’ve learnt that have opened my eyes, and that I look at completely differently now. For example, instead of thinking I have to do everything myself, I now see it as an opportunity for others to grow. As a manager it’s about working as a team and growing your team as well.  Thinking about self-reflection, it’s great to go back and look at things and analyse them, and ask myself, ‘what if I did it a different way instead?’”

“If you’re thinking about doing the business programme, then you absolutely should do it.  Yes, it means putting in the hours, but the fact that you can use your experience in your role is just fantastic, and that makes your job easier,” says Nicky.

Find out more information about the New Zealand Diploma in Leadership and Management (Level 5) programme. Careerforce is currently offering free enrolment in this programme until the end of 2022, a saving of $2000.