Success Story - Graeme Dingle Foundation

Youth 2 Work Success Stories

Career Navigating – Helping students with the next steps

Career Navigator is a ready-for-work programme designed to help secondary school students in need of direction. It’s run by the Graeme Dingle Foundation which aims to inspire all school age New Zealand children to reach their full potential.

Faafoi Seiuli heads up the Career Navigator programme in Wellington for the Foundation. “We’re helping students bridge the gap between college and the next steps whether that’s getting a job or going into further training or study.”

Faafoi says Career Navigator supports teenagers with mentoring, preparing students for the work force, attendance at career option events and work experience. He says work experience is a really important part of the Career Navigator programme. “Research has shown that if students have four or more employer contacts or activities while at school, they are five times more likely to remain in education, or get into employment or other training.

The students are encouraged to take up work experience opportunities to plan for what happens after they leave school.

Joseph Faleafaga is a Year 13 Mana College student looking at studying criminology at university next year.  He’s been doing work experience through the programme and been working with his mentors Pouaka Pārore and Adrian McVeigh.

“Career Navigator is really helping me with work experience and applying for scholarships for uni. I find that having a mentor makes things easier for me and the others – it’s helping us – they’re on our case. If the mentor was not there I’d just be chilling out,” says Joseph.

And the mentors get just as much out of it as the students. Pouaka says he has a philosophy of giving back and not just taking. “Faafoi was there for me, I’ve had mentors it’s only right that I give back.”

He says it’s important to provide another point of view outside of Porirua.  “The company I work for is global, it’s being able to show these guys another perspective.

“From my perspective, I like to be able to help young ones with their studies, their mental health and
 the transition from college to uni,” says Pouaka.

Mentor Cherie Chu spends a lot of time with her students Tiringa Ikiua-Meremere and Hannah Harteman talking about life. Tiringa is looking at going into the trades next year and doing a building course while Hannah is planning to go to university.

Hannah says she likes having a mentor to help her through her school work and to apply for scholarships, she wants to study for a B Com majoring in accounting and law.  “Cherie is helping me apply for scholarships – otherwise it probably would have been harder juggling leadership duties schoolwork and applying for scholarships as well. Career navigator just helps settle things.” says Hannah.

Cherie says; “being a part of these guys life has added more to my life than theirs.  They are on top of the world. Generally, we just talk, we try and set some goals, we talk about life beyond school, and families and we talk about TV!”

The Graeme Dingle Foundation is working in Partnership with Partners Porirua and Youth2Work, with the mutual dedication of seeing young people succeed.