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“If our youth workers are at best practice, then we can be a net of support for young people who fall through the gaps,” says Jo Lane, Manager at Marlborough Youth Trust (MYT).

The organisation, who just recently opened their Youth Development Centre in the corner of Kinross and Redwood streets in Blenheim, is working its way towards having 100% trained and qualified youth workers.

Youth workers that are new to the sector are enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work Level 3, a nationally recognised qualification developed by industry training organisation, Careerforce. They are learning and getting assessed on-the-job with the support of their employer, assessor, and Careerforce advisor.

Having a registered assessor in the workplace is essential to the achievement of the plan. MYT has Bex Nafe, an experienced youth worker who also runs the organisation’s events. Nafe enjoys supporting up and coming youth workers to achieve their qualifications. She says, “I have a passion to train people into youth work because I’m passionate about the industry itself.”

Soni Tanikula shares, “the workplace training I am doing with Careerforce has been really eye opening. I get a broader understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, learned about the Youth Development Strategy, and the policies and procedures that I need to follow professionally as a youth worker.”

Last year, Libby Craighead participated in the MYT-run programme; Youth in Emergency Services. She is now a part-time youth worker, enjoying learning on-the-job and being able to put learning into practice straight away.

More experienced staff members are enrolled into the level 4 Youth Work apprenticeship programme. Darlene Purdie says, “as I’m going along [the programme] it’s making me reflect on my practice so I can be the best youth worker that I possibly can be.” She runs the Youth Employability programme – supporting young people to develop skills for employment.

Youth workers have a challenging role where every day is different. Learning best practice approaches to dealing with youth motivates Reuben Molnar in doing his apprenticeship. “I want to learn best practice, how to work with youth if they come in distress, and the different agencies that are around to support youth.”

“After completing the Youth Work Apprenticeship, I hope to be able to work confidently with youth and do everything I can to support young people,” says Molnar.

Having a Careerforce apprenticeship advisor based locally, helps Youth Work apprentice Maxine Sweeney stay on track. She says, “my advisor helps me focus on the end result.”

Lane says the on-the-job training and apprenticeship remove the time and cost as barriers to training. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people in Marlborough to have the nationally recognised qualifications and benefit from on-site training. Often, they’ve had to go out of the region and off-site.”  

Lane says it is important for them to be investing in their staff. “We want to be an employer of choice. One of the ways to do that is by investing in our staff so they can invest into young people. That’s the plan.”

Marlborough Youth Trust provide services and programmes to enable the development of young people in Marlborough. They run successful programmes including the Youth in Emergency Services (YES) programme designed to strengthen the connection between young people and their communities through hands-on engagement with volunteer emergency services.

Find out more about Youth Work qualifications