You are here

New programme to target at-risk youth

Posted August 20, 2015

A new programme to assist young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) was launched this month—a collaboration between The Salvation Army and children’s charity Variety.

The two-year programme, called ‘Kiwi Next Generation’, will provide more than 725 young people, aged 16 to 18, with the resources, support, confidence and motivation to succeed in their chosen education and employment.

Territorial Commander Commissioner Robert Donaldson said the programme was made possible by funding from The Warehouse Group Gala Dinner. Held at Vector Arena on 14 August, the event was The Warehouse Group’s 24th annual charity dinner and supplier awards. It raised $725,000—a new benchmark for funds raised. Special guests at the black-tie event included Prime Minister John Key, a number of government ministers, as well as suppliers and business partners of The Warehouse Group and leaders in the community sector.

Kiwi Next Generation draws on the expertise, experience and infrastructure of The Salvation Army and Variety. The Salvation Army will facilitate individual mentoring and education for each young person through its Education and Employment (E&E), which is New Zealand’s longest running Private Training Establishment and a provider of the government’s Youth Guarantee programme. Variety will provide critical material and social support to ensure candidates go on to acquire further education or employment.

The programme had been designed to address young people who have fallen out of mainstream education and need help getting back on track. Commissioner Donaldson said the two charities were pleased to be collaborating to foster the full potential of New Zealand’s young people. ‘For some of our young people, their family and personal circumstances create barriers that make success challenging to imagine, let alone achieve. We believe no young person should be left behind,’ he said.

Both organisations have high expectations for the programme, which, if successful, could lead to new approaches in addressing services and programmes for NEET youth.

‘Gaining the support of The Warehouse Group and its suppliers and business partners—who each year make a significant contribution to community development—has ensured this innovative programme can go forward,’ said Commissioner Donaldson. ‘We are immensely grateful for their invaluable support for this programme, as well as for the support provided by last year’s dinner, which has supported more than 500 young people through our year-long Aspire programme.’

Mark Powell, Chief Executive of The Warehouse Group, said the company and the community owed a debt of gratitude to its suppliers and business partners who had participated to make the gala dinner such a success. ‘We’re proud to be able to facilitate what is one of New Zealand’s most important charity events, but its success is due to our suppliers and business partners who get behind it to raise money for what is always an important cause,’ he said. ‘We see great potential in the Kiwi Next Generation programme and see this as a great contribution to community development.'