annual report 2009-2010 cover image

Young people are in education, training, work or other worthwhile activities

Young New Zealanders need to grow to be independent and motivated to plan for a better life. Young people need the confidence to keep themselves on track and, when necessary, get themselves out of and stay out of trouble. They need to have the confidence to go and get training to build up their skills to get work and to contribute to economic growth and strong social outcomes.

We are increasing the opportunities for young people to contribute to decision-making processes which affect their lives. Engaging with young people helps them to build confidence in their own abilities. In addition, young people are better informed about training and study options to prepare them for work.

Youth engagement

It is important to get young people’s perspectives on decisions being made that affect them so they feel connected with those decisions and feel heard by government. We held five major consultations with young people on behalf of a range of government agencies. This consultation process gives government agencies the opportunity to get fresh ideas and views, and gives young people the opportunity to participate in decisions affecting them.

Young people were consulted on:

  • a review of the sale and supply of liquor for the Law Commission
  • Safer Journeys – Road Safety Strategy 2020 for the Ministry of Transport
  • Defence Review 2009 for the Ministry of Defence
  • a review of the Holidays Act 2003 and Promoting good practice and policies for young people’s work in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies – both for the Department of Labour.

StudyLink online services

We launched the redesigned StudyLink website in September 2009, along with the Apply Online Eligibility Tool. The new website includes links to information and tools from other relevant websites. It offers post-secondary school career planning advice and guidance specifically for Work and Income clients thinking about studying.

We also implemented Mail Online on 1 November 2009. This service enables students to access most of their correspondence from StudyLink online.

At 30 June 2010, 215,187 students submitted 414,960 applications using Apply Online and more than 109,000 students signed up to Mail Online, with 345,000 letters being viewed.

Break-Away school holiday programmes

In January 2010, we delivered the first Break-Away school holiday programmes to young people (aged 11 to 17 years) whose families are not able to provide them with such activities. Targeted communities included Auckland and Northland and on the East Coast.

Not all young people have the opportunity to be involved in structured school holiday programmes. In some cases, young people with no focus over holiday time get in trouble. Research shows that taking part in positive activities can help to improve young people’s engagement at school and to give young people an alternative to risky, antisocial behaviours. Young people can sign themselves onto the programme, or they can be referred by parents or others in the community.

From July 2010, the Break-Away school holiday programmes have been extended to 30,000 placements, available each year in areas facing social or economic disadvantage.

Over the 2010 January and April school holidays, 13,347 one-week school holiday programme placements were taken up by young people (aged 11–17 years) in Auckland and Northland and on the East Coast.

Limited Service Volunteers

The Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) Scheme has a proud history of building confidence, motivation and initiative in the young people who have participated in the programme. LSV training is run by the New Zealand Defence Force and comprises a six-week course aimed primarily at long-term unemployed young people between the ages of 18 and 25 years (17 year olds on a case-by-case basis). Due to the success of the scheme, it has been expanded to provide additional LSV training at Youth Development Units in Wellington and Auckland.

The extra LSV places will be funded through to 2011, with an increased focus on employment for young people.

The two additional programmes in Auckland and Wellington offer 1,250 more LSV places a year, for the next two years.

Young people who get into trouble stop offending

We are concentrating on helping serious and persistent young offenders get their lives back on track. There are now more options for dealing with young offenders, from those who have dabbled in criminal activity and could be diverted into positive activities to those serious, repeat offenders who are on their last chance before ending up in the adult criminal justice system.

For most young people, their offending is minor offending that doesn’t define their future. But some young people struggle to stay away from crime and the risk of becoming involved in more serious crime is high. In 2009 the Government introduced the Fresh Start package. Fresh Start is designed to help us work with young people to turn their lives around. The legislation that supports this package was passed in March 2010 and will come into effect on 1 October 2010.

To prepare for Fresh Start, the Ministry developed services for the package and did concept tests for Parenting, Mentoring, Alcohol and Other Drug programmes, Court-supervised camps, Military Activity Camps (MAC) and Community Youth programmes.

Our 2009–2012 Statement of Intent has two indicators for young people who get into trouble or who stop offending. Since 2008, our indicators show the repeat referral rate of young people has remained steady.

The Military Activity Camps are designed to expose young offenders to physical and team building activities to broaden their horizons and to encourage them toward alternatives to offending.

Te Maioha o Parekarangi youth justice residence

We completed Te Maioha o Parekarangi (gift of life imbued in the land) –
the new youth justice residence in Rotorua. The focus for the year was finishing construction work and getting the residence up and running. This included the fit-out of the residence and the recruitment of almost 100 staff in preparation to receive the first young people in August 2010.

Te Maioha o Parekarangi youth justice residence will house 30 young people. It will be part of the country’s national network of residence facilities, although many of the young people who stay there will be from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty areas. Staying there will keep them closer to their family and will help them transition back into their community.

Redevelopment of Lower North youth justice residence

We started the redevelopment of the Lower North youth justice residence to improve its safety and security. We intend to manage young people in smaller groups and to increase bed capacity (from 30 young people to 40 young people) while operating the facility during the redevelopment stage.

We carried out a successful community consultation process to increase the capacity of the residence.

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