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Potential recognised through work experience programme

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A stint working at Hastings City Art Gallery to build up her work skills and experience has turned into something more permanent for local Rangatahi Ma, Kia Eke programme participant Melanie Kilgour.

Melanie, 23, is just reaching the end of a six-month placement at the gallery, where she secured a 30-hour a week position through the Hastings District Council’s Rangitahi Ma, Kia Eke youth project.

The programme is a partnership between Hastings District Council, Ministry of Social Development, EIT, and Hawke’s Bay DHB, and it aims to help young people having difficulty finding work to gain work experience. It identifies work experience positions that do not displace a worker and that have a community or environmental good focus. To date some of the partner organisations include the Leg-Up Trust, Heretaunga Women’s Centre, Hastings SPCA, Nourished For Nil and Mangateretere School and community-focused council facilities.

In Melanie’s case, she had been working but left the job and had spent three months struggling to find another role.

"I was applying for a lot of retail jobs but lacked customer service experience."

That was when she decided to check out the Rangatahi Ma, Kia Eke project and it turned out she was eligible.

Taking account of her interests, and her visual arts and design qualification, the youth employment team found her a placement at the gallery and during her time there she picked up a wealth of skills including general administration and customer service.

She says she has also helped with children’s programmes during the holidays.

"Having this role has given me a lot of confidence and people have been very supportive - it’s also made my CV look better," says Melanie.

While her CV looked good, the gallery team saw for themselves her potential, and have offered her a permanent two day a week position once her Ranagatahi Ma, Kia Eke role ends in May.

Hastings district councillor Eileen Lawson says there have been many success stories with the programme. "Often it not only provides our young people with a great opportunity to gain work experience and build their skills, but also helps participating businesses and organisations achieve their goals."

In its second year of operation this year, the Rangitahi Ma, Kia Eke contract for 2019 is for 15 young people.

Last year 25 rangatahi went through the programme gaining skills and experience and on-the-job training, all the while being mentored and supported by the agencies involved.

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