Change to a rewarding and fulfilling career

Are you ready to switch to a fulfilling career in the Health and Wellbeing sectors? Having a career in these sectors could be more accessible and achievable than first thought. You can earn while you learn by doing on job training. Get the skills, the qualifications and change to a fulfilling and enjoyable career pathway.

Youth worker Phil is making a difference in young people’s lives

Phil Nuu is already onto his fifth line of work. He gained a Diploma in Hotel Management and for over 6 years worked in hospitality. Initially he worked at a Nelson Hotel as a conference supervisor and later had a stint as a duty manager at a Christchurch Hotel. But, his heart has always been with working with young people.

Born to Samoan parents, Phil grew up in Christchurch and attended Bromley Primary and Linwood College. “I studied all the standard subjects such as English and Maths, but my favourite subjects were sport and music. I believe my interest in these two subjects has helped me work so well with young people.

His passion to help others started when Phil was only very young – from when he was at primary school. “I have always participated and volunteered in church youth groups, as well as sports and music groups.”

“I have always wanted to make a difference in young peoples’ lives, especially at the young age (from 11 to 18 years old). They often come from fractured homes or lifestyles without role models to guide them,”

Helping to mould our future leaders

Phil made the bold decision to change careers. He is now a senior youth worker for the Whanaketanga programme with Youth and Cultural Development (YCD) in Christchurch.

YCD in Christchurch provides services to young people who are at risk of being caught in an offending circle. The organisation has formed partnerships with the community and government organisations to provide the best services possible to this sector of the youth community. These young people might not otherwise get the support they need to develop positive decision-making skills.

Phil leads the Whanaketanga programme at YCD – helping to mould our future leaders, with funds provided by the Ministry of Youth Development.


He coordinates the programme in schools and the community, to provide learning and leadership development through participation in cultural activities, sports, arts and education.

“We support young people to plan and run events for other young people or for whanau, participating in activities such as dragon boating, culture groups.

We also provide a mediation-type role between the young people and whanau when appropriate.”

Graduating with Youth work qualification

Following a year’s training with support from Careerforce, Phil graduated with a Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work (Youth Leadership). He really enjoyed being able to put the theory he studied into practice. Phil intends to continue studying and plans to start a business course soon. He has worked at YCD for a number of years now, and envisages his future will always include working with youth.

He suggests those interested in youth work follow his example and start doing voluntary work – such as helping out in youth groups. Joining the Canterbury Youth Workers’ Collective also helped him network with other youth agencies in Christchurch. Having a qualification in Youth Work is a validation of his skills and the experience he acquired on the job.



More information:

Read more about youth work qualifications
New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work (Level 3)
New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work (Level 4)

Turn your passion for helping young people into a career as a youth worker

Read about how a Youth worker can make a big difference in young people’s lives.  Get paid to get qualified in youth work with on-job training supported by Careerforce >More

Check out other careers in the health and wellbeing sectors

The Inspiring Heroes Guide covers 15 careers in the health and wellbeing, disability and age support, social services, cleaning and pest control sectors. For each career, it highlights what a worker can expect to do in a typical day, what characteristics and aptitudes suit these roles, how to get qualified and what the career pathways are.

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