LAUNCH: Taupo MP Louise Upston, Minister of Youth Affairs Nikki Kaye and Okareka Rural Fire chief fire officer Phil Muldoon at Mangakino on Sunday.
The funding will allow the programme to run in Mangakino, Kaikohe, Gisborne, Alexandra, Kaikoura and a second project in Rotorua. The aim of the programme is to open doors for young people to volunteer or follow a career path in the emergency services, as well as building connections between young people and their communities.
YES was trialled in Rotorua and offered five emergency service tasters over four weeks: St John Ambulance, NZ Rire Service including Lake Okareka Rural Fire and Operational support, River Rescue, the NZ Police’s Land Search and Rescue Team and Civil Defence’s Emergency Response team.
‘‘I was very impressed with the successful Youth in Emergency Services pilot programme run in Rotorua this year. I believe it is important to give young people in other areas the opportunity to experience this great programme,’’ Ms Kaye said.
‘‘Up to 15 young people in each of the six communities will be able to participate.
‘‘This project gives these young New Zealanders a great opportunity to give back to their communities and see first-hand the outstanding job that our emergency services do.’’
Taupo MP Louise Upston said she was excited the Minister had chosen to launch the project in Mangakino.
‘‘This is a small community with a very big heart," she said.
Also attending the launch were some of the graduates of the Rotorua pilot programme who shared their experiences.
‘‘Motivation, is the one word I would use to describe what I have got out of this course,’’ Rotorua Girls’ High School student Paige Ryan-Adlam said.
‘‘Before this course I wouldn’t dare to try anything slightly outside my comfort zone.
‘‘But I attended every lesson and was hungry for more.
‘‘I also became invested in my achievements and those of my peers.
‘‘It gave me a belief that I could actually attend something, actually turn up, and I find that I’ve actually been attending school more.
‘‘I don’t know how it has come about, I can’t explain it. Before the training I went to maybe one or two classes a day possibly but now I’m going to every single class. My attendance is above 95 per cent,’’ she said.
The programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Youth Development and Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management.
‘‘By getting young people to participate in a range of emergency services, we both strengthen the capability of those emergency services and give young people important opportunities to show leadership in their communities,’’ Ms Kaye said. She also said the launch of the national programme was a great way to mark the start of Get Ready Week, which runs from September 23-29.