Steer­ing stu­dents to­wards jobs

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

Mata­mata stu­dents may ben­e­fit from a move to in­tro­duce com­pul­sory driver li­cens­ing in sec­ondary schools around New Zealand.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil and busi­nesses are sup­port­ing the ini­tia­tive which was put for­ward at the Lo­cal Govern­ment New Zealand AGM.

It was passed with 79 per cent of votes from coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Ro­torua Lakes Coun­cil put for­ward the idea and asked LGNZ to lobby govern­ment to sup­port a free and all-in­clu­sive univer­sal driver li­cence pro­gramme for all stu­dents at NCEA level two.

The coun­cils said it was diffi- cult for young peo­ple to find em­ploy­ment with­out a driver li­cence.

In was par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult in smaller towns, ru­ral ar­eas and places of high de­pri­va­tion, fur­ther prompt­ing the need for such a pro­gramme.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako mayor Jan Barnes is keen to see the ini­tia­tive be­come re­al­ity.

It comes af­ter months of lob­by­ing from the May­oral Task Force for Jobs, of which Barnes is a mem­ber.

In 2016 the fo­rum launched Steer­ing Aotearoa (driver li­cens­ing) ini­tia­tive in part­ner­ship with Massey Univer­sity and Con­nect­ing for Youth Em­ploy­ment – Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay (CYE).

The pilot pro­gramme was run within Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay Col­lege in Waipuku­rau and in­cluded 20, 16-year-old stu­dents, with a suc­cess­ful out­come.

A re­search re­port rec­om­mended that driver train­ing pro­grammes be re­tained, and ex­panded, to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for all stu­dents to se­cure their full driver li­cence be­fore they leave high school and as a re­sult was added as a re­mit at LGNZ.

‘‘I have put all my ef­fort into this,’’ said Barnes.

‘‘We are dis­ad­van­tag­ing our ru­ral, pro­vin­cial youth. If we give them one thing, it is a learner li­cence or maybe more.

‘‘It’s to give our young peo­ple con­fi­dence.

‘‘If they get this learner li­cence, wow, they have al­ready got con­fi­dence.

‘‘And then we start to build on that, and why not in­side our col­leges, that’s where it should hap­pen.’’

Mata­mata Col­lege Gate­way co­or­di­na­tor Kym Bolton-Hamp­ton says there is al­ready a driver li­cens­ing course at the col­lege on an as-needed ba­sis.

Stu­dents who want to be in­volved can put their name for­ward.

Bolton-Hamp­ton says the col­lege put about 20 stu­dents through the par­tially funded pro­gramme, with a 90 per cent pass rate.

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