Better Public Services Result 5 - Case Study: Youth Service – helping young people reach their potential
Youth Service, a Ministry of Social Development (MSD) initiative, works with community-based providers to support and encourage young people into education, training or work-based learning. They gain the learning and skills to continue in their learning, find a job and have an independent future - free of welfare.
Agencies intervene early to help these young people before they become dependent on welfare, or young people under 18 years who enter the welfare system are more likely to remain there as they move into adulthood.
Youth Service has been operational since the middle of 2012. A draft evaluation of its first few months reports many young people saying they appreciate the one-on-one attention and are more disciplined.
One young person told Youth Service "I love the course, it's better than sitting at home. Tutors help out a lot, even with stuff that is not to do with the course. [NCEA] unit standards take a long time at school but it's one-on-one at the course, they help you out until you achieve them."
More young people achieving NCEA Level 2 is a key goal for Youth Service. But, given that school hasn't worked for many that the Youth Service targets, the goal of getting them to NCEA Level 2 requires some different solutions.
For Fati Tagoai, a Youth Service specialist, the key to Youth Service's success will be reaching young people early.
"It [the service] focuses on young people at a pivotal time, when almost every decision has the potential to be life-changing. You have to tackle them in that period where they are experimenting, when they are easily swayed...The important thing is to get your foot in the door, start listening...and working out what their barriers are," says Fati.
Youth Service was set up with close collaboration between MSD and the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education helped providers understand the Youth Guarantee initiative which provides a range of ways young people can engage in education, within and outside of school. Youth Guarantee can be appealing for some young school leavers because of the opportunities to learn outside the school environment. The operational collaboration between Youth Service and Youth Guarantee is ongoing.
The Ministry of Education helped Youth Service begin relationships with schools and get information to them. Youth Service has called on schools to help identify students they believe are at risk of dropping out, or to supply information about recent former students who've already left education.
The two ministries created a joint brochure to inform schools about Youth Service.
Collaboration across government agencies has meant better monitoring and reporting of the progress these young people are making. It's also meant young people can better access initiatives such as fees-free places.
Find out more information about Youth Service here
Find out more information about Youth Guarantee here.