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Seven graduate from programme for at-risk youth

Thursday July 20, 2017 Written by Published in Crime
Some of the youths who helped complete construction a shed located at the back of the Arorangi Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute campus. All seven of the young men took part in the assignment and were proud of their accomplishment. 17071811 Some of the youths who helped complete construction a shed located at the back of the Arorangi Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute campus. All seven of the young men took part in the assignment and were proud of their accomplishment. 17071811

Seven youths graduated from Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI) last week as part of a programme that catered to troubled and at-risk youth.

 

The Tumanava youths successfully finished a programme that included work readiness, building and carpentry units.

The programme, an accredited programme with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority

(NZQA), ran for 20 weeks and initially started with 12 students.

CITTI director Caroline Medway-Smith said the five who dropped out of the programme were within the standard rate of those who enrol in a course and are unable or unwilling to complete the entirety of the programme.

“Twelve enrolled, two had to go back overseas, and the remaining three were either offered employment or personal circumstances meant they could not finish the programme.”

The youths are all aged around 15 and legally they should be at school. But for one reason or another, school isn’t right for them, and CITTI offers alternative education.

“They have been suspended for a lot of their time at school  – so understandably they fall behind.

“So instead of them bumming around on the streets, they are gainfully educated with us,” Medway-Smith said.

The programme focused on work experience, where the boys took part in both hands-on and practical work - a tactic that works best for most of the young people who take part in the CITTI course.

“For these boys it is all about being hands on and practical,” Medway-Smith added.

As a group, the youngsters have built a variety of fixtures for the community, including a number of bench tables that can now be seen outside the Banana Court and multiple coffee tables that were gifted to different dignitaries within the community.

Medway-Smith highlighted that the course requires tutors and coordinators to contribute more than just assignments and education.

“The boys come troubled to start with. That’s not to say they leave untroubled and they do sometimes have issues whilst taking part in the course.

“However we have a counsellor on board and are able to offer extra support. Along with this, there is a lot of pastoral care with these boys because they have all sorts of differing issues.

“Some endure social issues, some have family issues, some have learning difficulties; so we provide all the necessary support, so that they can cope with this and get an education.”

The graduation ceremony highlighted the fact that of the seven who completed the course, all were able to secure employment. And that’s a massive achievement for all who took part and helped the youths during their 20-week stint.

“Yes it is hard work and yes it is challenging but I am sure those boys will agree it is so rewarding standing up there today, with their certificate and seeing the end result,” Medway-Smith said.

She said tertiary organisation was pleased with the outcome of the course, so much so, that the programme is set to resume on July 24.

Medway-Smith urges any troubled youth, or any parents and guardians with youngsters who don’t want to be at school, to reach out to CITTI about their programmes.

“We are not encouraging people to leave school, that is in no way what this programme is about. But what it is about, is offering an alternative, an alternative with which these young boys are able to succeed,” Medway-Smith said.