PGF backs programme to support the future of both youth and the environment

Published: 10 January, 2020

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An investment of close to $3.5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund’s (PGF) Te Ara Mahi allocation will support Sentinel A Nuku, a training programme designed for rangatahi with a passion to work in environment and conservation.

Ranger Ataahua Kingi in a forest with a group of school children.

Te Papa Atawhai ranger Ataahua Kingi talks with a group of school children about the importance of native flora and fauna.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Director General, Lou Sanson has welcomed the investment.

“There is an increasing need for young people to learn practical skills and experience in the fields of ecology, biodiversity and conservation,” Sanson says.

“This project will focus on helping young people learn practical skills and get work-related training which will lead to educational and work opportunities. These people will be the next generation of leaders, managers and technical experts in the fields of conservation, environmental protection and managing indigenous biodiversity across Aotearoa, New Zealand,” Sanson says.

“The combination of funding and expertise from DOC, support from iwi and the PGF investment will establish a ‘learn as you earn’ apprenticeship style programme for young people which will secure both their future and the future of New Zealand’s biodiversity,” he says.

Sentinel A Nuku has been developed by the Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawhai and had its genesis in the very successfulNgā Whenua Rahui programme which supports Māori land owners to restore, protect and preserve the indigenous biodiversity of their whenua as well as preserving traditional knowledge and heritage.

Head of the Provincial Development Unit,Robert Pigou says the Sentinel A Nuku programme will provide a significant opportunity to grow the future workforce we will need to protect our environment.

“It will also provide new employment opportunities, particularly in places where there are significant areas of Māori land, large forests, important ecosystems and threatened species,” he says.

The programme will recruit its first 20 students in early 2020. A further 30 are expected to be recruited in the second and consecutive years.

The students will work on regional environmentally focused projects while being supported to develop work and environment management skills and will be supported to gain related formal qualifications.