YMCA youth coach Kate Fogarty is on a mission to find local businesses willing to take on young people to help them gain valuable workplace experience.
Kate has 20 high risk youth on her books aged 15-18.
High risk youth are young people who have a family history of being on the benefit, mental health or drugs issues.
Kate said her job is about finding what their path is, where they need to go and what they need to do, whether it is education or employment.
She also helps with car licensing, including paying for the tests and driving lessons.
It is a job that has challenges but is rewarding when she sees the change in a young person.
“I’ve got a couple of young people I’ve had since they were 15, they wanted out of mainstream school, they’ve since gained their NZCA levels 1 and 2, one of them got their restricted licence last week, and came in and showed me and we did a happy dance, and is now enrolled in Ara, this from a kid who was very mopey when they first come in here,” Kate said.
Businesses who have after school work, casual work or just a week of work experience are encouraged to get in touch with Kate.
“We need people who have patience and are keen to help young people without experience get their foot in the door.
“It doesn’t have to be paid, a week of work experience is valuable for a young person.”
Covid settings are adding an extra hurdle for some youth who are unvaccinated.
“I’m really hitting a brick wall with my young people who are unvaccinated, especially driver licensing, at the moment if you’re unvaccinated you can’t receive a professional driving lesson, and you can’t sit practical driving tests either,” she said.
There is no magic wand in dealing with high risk youth, but perseverance helps.
“It’s really just finding out what they enjoy and going with that, once you can find the spark you can find a job that goes with that,” she said.
Kate’s support doesn’t stop after a young person is placed into a job, she continues to assist both the youth and employer, including funding gear and equipment purchases.
If you have positions that may be suitable contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org
-By Daniel Tobin