Flaxmere youth programme celebrates new graduates

Published: Nov 13, 2020

11 graduates from a youth employment programme in the Hawke’s Bay celebrated the completion of their three month digital training programme last week.

Norah Kataina, Aleeyah Te Ngaru and William Pouwhare

Te Ara Matihiko graduates Norah Kataina, Aleeyah Te Ngaru and William Pouwhare

Moira McGarva-Ratapu, Founding Director of the Flaxmere-based organisation PurSuit, says the organisation’ offers participants in its Te Ara Matihiko programme ongoing support after graduation.

“Now they have completed the three month training component of their course, we will continue to offer pastoral care for 12 months to help them make permanent change in their lives. We are really proud of our graduates,” says Moira.

Norah Kataina (Mangaia, Cook Islands) is one Te Ara Matihiko graduate who has made a number of personal achievements in 2020.

Earlier in the year the solo mum of two graduated from the digital training programme, which she credits for helping her figure out a career pathway.

“When I first started I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. Talking with the tutors at Te Ara Matihiko gave me an idea of what I wanted for my future,” says Norah.

Now the 23-year-old is pursuing a career in hospitality and is studying towards a Level 3 Food and Beverage course at the Eastern Institute of Technology, while gaining work experience at local events such as the Hawke’s Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards.

An investment from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s He Poutama Rangatahi fund enables PurSuit to offer its Te Ara Matihiko programme to 80 young people over two years.

“In addition to our 11 new graduates, we are also supporting 16 young adults who are working, 14 who are studying and one who is completing work experience,” says Moira.

“We help our participants find a career or study path that’s right for them – not just casual or seasonal work.”

According to Norah, one of the best things about the programme is the level of support provided by tutors.

“I could ask my tutors about anything. If I ever had doubts in my mind about being a good mum to my kids for example, I could go and talk to them and they would give me really good advice,” says Norah.

“I still catch up with the tutors now and then, and they always come and support what I’m doing.”

Norah says she thinks it’s important other young people know there are services available to help them identify a career path and offer support if they need it.

“If anybody out there that is struggling to find what they want to do, I would recommend Te Ara Matihiko. The programme is really supportive, plus it’s free to use! It’s there to help people.”