A Rangatahi Hub will open soon in Kopeopeo. It will be a space for Rangatahi and Youth to develop their educational, training and employment pathways—a one-stop shop.

Our rangatahi across the Eastern Bay of Plenty are expected to seamlessly transition from education to training to employment. This is often the exception, not the rule.

Let’s consider their current environment.

Rangatahi are expected to thrive in an asymmetrical monocultural schooling environment and achieve NCEA or scholarship qualifications. Not to mention, in a region with less resources and extra-curricular opportunities in contrast to their urban counterparts. Which despite all odds a good portion still do.

Then they are expected to choose a career pathway from the employment opportunities that our local industries are meant to be providing which are currently insufficient. Whakatane does not yet have a thing. Apparently, it might be tourism. Seems underwhelming in scale.

They are expected to access training or degree courses with local tertiary providers that provides the right set of skills for the right set of jobs which are not always available or not aligned.  

Then they are expected to move around town accessing these services using a public transport system we do not have.

They are also meant to overcome the impact of high deprivation in some of our communities across the region and magically transcend the historical trauma of a colonised world.

Finally, they are meant to shake-off any personal errors or stumbles that have already occurred along their journey while attempting to negotiate this environment.

Yeah, nah.

The Hub will become a space for those rangatahi that would like support moving from schooling, to training, to employment, based on a kaupapa Māori approach to well-being.

Integrated services such as driving licences, medical care, nutritionist, education and transferable skills, alcohol and drug counselling, mental health, maurakau, cultural/te reo programmes will be provided under one roof and all pulled together in a customised whānau ora plan for the rangatahi and their whānau.

It will also have WiFi, IT suite, kitchen facilities and times where rangatahi can host their own workshops and presentations.

At the heart of this programme is placing rangatahi at the centre of their own pathway.  

If the rangatahi are experiencing problems or obstacles within schooling, training or employment; with service providers or government agencies; within the wider community or within the home environment—the Hub will aim to facilitate a resolution.

While working with the rangatahi, the Hub will also work with local tertiary education providers, employers, workforce advisory groups, economic agencies and councils across the region to place rangatahi in new jobs as the investments from the provincial growth fund takes hold.

The Hub is part of the He Poutama Rangatahi service run by Te Puna Ora o Mataatua and will open in January 2019.

Published in the Whakatane Beacon 11 December 2018.

Dr Chris Tooley

Chris Tooley, Ngāti Kahungunu, CEO of Te Puna Ora o Mataatua.

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