Creating new futures for Bay of Plenty youth

Ezra Harvey has picked up shifts at Oscar and Otto Eatery through doing the Imagine Believe Achieve course. Photo: John Borren.

After leaving school two years ago, Ezra Harvey has had some casual work but nothing long lasting.

Since being accepted into the Imagine Believe Achieve programme, he has picked up two shifts a week at a cafe and now has routine back in his life.

Imagine Believe Achieve (Moemoea, Kimihia, Taea) is a 13-week training programme run by the Bay of Plenty Youth Development Trust for 15 to 24-year-olds who are not currently employed or in education or training.

Ezra is one of 12 young adults in the second intake of the programme that helps participants develop   whare tapa wha, which is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing as well as practical employment and study skills.

What makes IBA unique is the pastoral care each individual receives once they are employed or doing further study. 

Programme facilitator Andre Jay says the wrap-around support is offered for up to 12 months after the initial course to help keep youth employed and happy in their work.

Andre gives the example of a guy from the first intake who had started a job. It was just before pay day and he didn’t have money for fuel to get to work or phone credit so he contacted Andre using a wifi app.

Andre was able to pass the message on to his employer and he says that simple step is the difference between a no-show which could lead to a formal warning or possibly job loss and the boss understanding why he couldn’t work.    

“There’s all those little things that we do to make sure that they’re successful.”

During the programme, participants develop a personalised plan, do work experience, site visits and are connected with potential employers.

Ezra says they get so many opportunities afforded to them and the site visits are his favourite part of the course so far because they offer insight into how different industries operate.

“The one thing that I've taken away from every single one of them is that you have to have a positive attitude, because if you don't have a positive attitude no one will want to employ you.”

The 20-year-old is says his shifts washing dishes at Oscar and Otto Eatery aren’t glamorous but he’s now working in the industry he wants to be in and has better understanding of how a commercial kitchen operates.

Ezra’s goal is to become a front of house staff member because he’s more of a people person.

Through doing the programme Ezra has become more resilient and it has given him direction after “not doing much” since he finished Year 13.

Resilience is one of the five values the Bay Of Plenty youth development trust instils in their attendees - the others are kindness, responsibility, respect and trust.

Andre says as a facilitator, gaining the youths’ trust is important to ensure the programme is successful. 

“If they don't trust you and wholeheartedly believe in the process and who you are, it's not going to work.”

IBA is run out of the Tauranga Boxing Acadamey which was started in 2017 by the trust to help improve the lives of young people in the Tauranga area.

IBA is an expansion on this. The first intake started in June with 10 youth and new intakes will happen around every four months for up to 15 participants.

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter