Defence Minister Ron Mark and Associate Social Development Minister Peeni Henare have today officially opened the new Youth Development Facility at Whenuapai Air Base.
The new facility will host 640 young people each year, who will take part in the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) programme. LSV is a residential six-week programme run jointly by NZDF and MSD aimed at helping turn the lives of at-risk young people around and move them into employment.
“The LSV programme in its current form has been in place for 25 years,” says Ron Mark. “It has proven time and time again to be a valuable tool in helping young people move forward with their lives.
“The new facility opened today is a huge step forward for LSV. Not only is it modern and fit for purpose, but it will also help meet the increased demand for the programme which the Government has doubled in size to 1600 students by the year 2020. This increase in numbers was a key initiative in the Coalition agreement. ”
“I’ve been a huge believer in the LSV programme for decades, and I’ve met so many people who have had their lives turned around by it. When I was an employer I also saw the value of taking on graduates. Their work ethic was second to none,” says Ron Mark.
Associate Social Development Minister Peeni Henare says the LSV programme is one of the Ministry’s key work readiness and development programmes for young people.
“It provides a supportive and structured environment that builds participants’ confidence, fitness and life skills – preparing them to move into employment or education,“ says Peeni Henare.
“In its current form, LSV has trained 16,230 young people and on average, 50% of LSV trainees are off-benefit at 16-weeks post-course. Employers value LSV graduates because of their skills, discipline and attitude.
“The new facility and the one soon to be opened in Wellington will enable more young people to access a proven programme that leads to meaningful and sustainable employment,” says Peeni Henare.
The new facility will also help train students at the Ministry of Education’s Service Academies as well as members of the various Cadet Units in Auckland.
“This multi-purpose facility and the dedicated staff who work here will make a huge difference to youth training in New Zealand for years to come. It was an honour to be at the opening and I’m looking forward to seeing the first class of LSV students graduate from here later in the year,” says Ron Mark.