The pilot programme Central Otago Youth Employment Programme (COYEP) has now completed its first full year in Cromwell and Alexandra, and coordinator Jenna Faulkner is excited at its success in providing career pathways for our youths.   Students from 2020 have now been offered apprenticeships or cadetships as a follow-up to their work placements.

Jenna says,

“The success of the programme speaks for itself. Over the past year it has really taken off.  We have had students come on board because they can see themselves gaining an apprenticeship.  They can achieve their literacy and numeracy NCEA, experience the workplace, gain some skills in a trade, and get a taste of whether they want to pursue that path. We have had lots of pupils leave to start apprenticeships and cadetships.  The programme sets pupils up for success.”

She does clarify that not all students are suitable for COYEP.  They need to be hardworking, interested in trades as a pathway to the future, and have good time-management skills.

On the strength of the Cromwell College and Dunstan High School experience in 2019 and 2020, COYEP has been rolled out to Mt Aspiring College and Dunstan High School this year.

New this year, too, has been a stronger link to the Cromwell Campus of Otago Polytechnic. Partnering with the polytechnic is helping pupils gain their NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 and giving them the opportunity to do trades academy courses.

The COYEP programme is a partnership between Central Lakes Trust, Otago Polytechnic, The Ministry of Education, and the four school boards involved.  It is a pilot programme, which may be rolled out to other regions in the future.

Jenna is keen to thank employers and supporters Campbell and Gaston, Camco, Tawaki Holdings Ltd, Tyreland, Hayden Rodgers Building Ltd, Barratt Homes, Brown and Geary Builders, Ussher Green Building, Tom Cooney Builders, Toyota, Davidson Honda, Rivers Farms Ltd, Lionel Day Auto Restorations.

‘Cammy’ Campbell, of Campbell and Gaston and Camco, has two students currently on work placement, and says that, remembering his own keenness to join the workforce, he is always happy to answer the call of, “Can you take this boy?”

He adds,

“Jenna is the glue that keeps it all going. I get a kick out of having the kids.  I was helped at that age, and this is pay-back.”

Jenna says, “I am so proud of all my pupils.”