Kaikohe Youth Action Plan Project Manager Brennan Rigby (left) with Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce at the open day.

Northland College recently hosted the Honourable Steven Joyce, Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment along with around 100 students and members of the public to celebrate new life being breathed into the college farm.

The new lease of life has come about through a partnership with Lincoln University, and both the farm’s new productivity and the direct link to the tertiary institute will create new opportunities for Northland College students.

Northland College students are making the most of the opportunity. 37 students are currently enrolled in agricultural courses at the school, and with a modern technological approach to farming, students gain real-world experience while still at school.

Increasing participation in education, training and employment is one of five key targets for the Kaikohe Social Sector Trials expressed in the Kaikohe Youth Action Plan.

The Social Sector Trials model seeks to bring providers and resources together while also providing extra support and accountability for delivering better social sector outcomes; in this case, better training opportunities for students.

The Action Plan commits to ensuring that by February 2015, 30 students will be able to study National Certificates in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry at the Northland College school farm and forest.’ In terms of agriculture training that goal is already met, and work across horticulture and forestry is underway.

Minister Joyce identified the improving educational opportunities at Northland College as a part of a broader shift in Northland. During his speech, Minister Joyce reflected on the importance of maximising opportunities like the Northland College farm to the regional economy and local community.

The farm’s revitalisation is a significant matter in terms of improving outcomes of Kaikohe youth. Action Plan project manager Brennan Rigby sees the potential of the farm to generate income and stimulate local economic activity, provide a set of educational opportunities not previously available, improve student engagement, increase the number of local youth moving on to tertiary education, and provide further opportunity for the college to engage with the local community.

All of these possibilities are reflected in the broad scope of the Kaikohe Youth Action Plan. A total of 14 milestones are due for completion in June ’14, including the development of a new community truancy plan, and the launch of marae-based and whānau-oriented programs to combat truancy.

About the Kaikohe Youth Action Plan

The Kaikohe Social Sector Trial and the Action Plan are being managed by Brennan Rigby. The Action Plan was widely consulted in Kaikohe in 2013 and in December 2013 it was signed off by the five Ministers involved in the Social Sector Trials programme. The Action Plan features a series of milestone actions, each of which is to be delivered by a specified date which willcontribute to better outcomes for Kaikohe young people aged 12 to 18.

About Te Pae Aronga Taitamariki (Kaikohe Social Sector Trials contract holder)

Te Pae Aronga Taitamariki is a tripartite joint venture formed in 2012 comprised of Otāngarei Trust based in Whangarei, Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services based in Kaikohe and Youth Horizons based in Auckland. The joint venture was established to formalise a working relationship between the three parties to share clinical, cultural and local expertise, knowledge and experience, ensuring the best outcomes for the children and young people of the Northland/Te Tai Tokerau region.