The number of youth development opportunities in New Zealand is growing by around 10,000 annually as a result of a new approach, which includes the Government co-investing in new opportunities with philanthropic, business, iwi and other partners, says Youth Minister Nikki Kaye.

“In July last year, the Government committed $1 million to seed a Partnership Fund, with the aim of attracting investments from other partners to help grow youth development opportunities,” says Ms Kaye.

“Already, over $900,000 from the Fund has been invested, alongside around $2 million cash and in-kind support from partners towards more than 6000 new opportunities.

“There are many businesses and organisations out there which recognise the value of investing in helping young people acquire the skills and confidence they need to contribute positively to society as adults.

“It makes sense for the Government and these organisations to work together, to maximise resources and increase the number and quality of opportunities available.”

A Board was also established last year to oversee the Partnership Fund and lead the development of new collaborative partnerships to increase youth development opportunities.

“A key role of the Partnership Fund Board is to draw on the expertise and networks of its members to generate new ideas, and forge new partnerships to grow the opportunities available,” says Ms Kaye.

“They’ve achieved great results in a relatively short time, and I look forward to the new partnerships and opportunities they will develop this year.”

So far in 2017, a number of new partnerships have been announced offering a range of mentoring, volunteering and leadership opportunities for young people in fields such as sports, the creative sector and technology.

The new approach for the Ministry of Youth Development, which was announced in November 2015, is expected to increase the number of youth development opportunities from 50,000 to 70,000 annually over two years.

“We’re on track to achieve this, with the extra 10,000 opportunities expected to be created by the end of this year taking the total opportunities available to around 60,000,” says Ms Kaye.

Overall funds targeting disadvantaged youth are also expected to increase from 18 to 30 per cent.

Recent partnership announcements

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