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Hastings Girls’ High School student, Ahnaliyah Maas is passionate about working with young people and wants to help create a better future for them.

“I’m beyond grateful for the influence of youth leaders in my life, and want to have the same impact on others,” says the teenager.

Thanks to a school Gateway programme run through industry training organisation, Careerforce, Ahnaliyah has successfully completed the NZ Certificate in Youth Work Level 3.

Ahnaliyah is passionate about working with youth

Ahnaliyah Maas

As a 16 year old, Ahnaliyah first learnt about the Gateway programme from her teacher.  Although a little unsure of things at first, as the year progressed, she became more excited, realising what a great achievement this was going to be for her.

Gateway programmes are set up to give high school students access to structured workplace learning while still at school.  The students gain valuable experience and skills in the workplace that help them transition to the workforce, whilst supporting them to achieve unit standards towards a qualification.

Ahnaliyah’s Gateway placement was at Massive, supporting an intermediate programme run at Equippers Church. In her role she was a leader at Massive, setting up the church each week, attending team meetings, and running the games. She also organised special events such as local outings and organising fundraisers for trips out of town.

“My favourite part of the placement was building relationships with the kids,” says Ahnaliyah. “These were my most proud moments. The kids came out of their shell, growing their character. Some of the most challenging parts were getting them to listen to me, as a younger leader.”

Support from her school and Careerforce

Gateway programmes come with plenty of support to help students get started, stay engaged and keep motivated along the way with support from the school, the workplace and Careerforce.

Ahnaliyah set aside three hours a week to work on assessments and spent a further three hours or more at her placement each week. Her school ensured that space was scheduled into her timetable to work on this programme, and which took 12 months to complete.

“It’s my dream job to be able to work with people, especially youth. I can definitely see myself in a career where I’m able to work with youth, whether as a youth worker, a social worker or teacher. What I do know for sure now, is that whatever career path I choose, I want to continue using the knowledge I gained over the past year to work with youth.

Ahnaliyah gained leadership skills on the Gateway programme

“I would recommend Gateway programmes, whatever career path a high school student is interested in, as it gives a great taster of what it is to be working in the chosen career.

“Being a part of the Youth Work Gateway programme was an honour. The course helped me to develop leadership skills and knowledge about how to build relationships effectively and safely alongside young people. This pathway only confirmed my passion to work with youth and I plan to continue this journey by gaining my Diploma in Youth Work when I leave school.”

Careerforce has developed a suite of Gateway packages to allow students to experience the diverse opportunities available to them in the health and wellbeing sectors, and potentially forge their career.

More information

Check out the following link for more information about Gateway for high school students.

Find out more about the New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work Level 3

See Careerforce’s range of Youth Work programmes