Kaikohe to trial Youth in Emergency Services scheme

5 Mar 2014

Fifteen nominated young people from the wider Kaikohe area will be given a hands-on introduction to the work their local emergency services do as Northland becomes one of the first regions to roll-out a new national scheme shortly.

Youth in Emergency Services (YES) is a national programme designed to strengthen the connection between young people and their communities and which is run collaboratively by the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM)

After a successful pilot in Rotorua last year, a second phase of the programme will see it rolled out as a five-week long initiative in a handful of other centres, including Northland later this month.

Shona Morgan, YES Project Coordinator for the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group says a Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed between the various agencies in Northland that will play a role in the local roll-out.

The exact start date has yet to be confirmed, but is likely to be some time in late April or early May.

Ms Morgan says Nikki Kaye, Minister of both Youth Affairs and Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM), had selected Kaikohe – which typically struggles to recruit emergency volunteers – as an area that would benefit from the scheme.

Participating local agencies include councils, police, fire and ambulance, Coastguard, search and rescue and Red Cross with the Ministry of Youth Development contributing $10,000 towards local costs.

Ms Morgan says participants are typically 16 to 19 years old and chosen from a pool of suitable young people nominated for the programme by local schools, iwi and social services.

During the five weeks participants will be introduced to a variety of emergency services, with much of this centring on a strong hands-on component, including emergency scenarios and an exercise based on a mock disaster.

She says as well as encouraging a more active participation in their local communities, the programme helps participants develop a number of useful practical skills.

"For some it will also be a crucial initial step in what could eventually become further involvement in the emergency services field, either as a volunteer or as part of a paid career. It also enables a greater appreciation from the communities themselves about the value and contribution their young people can make."

Ms Morgan says depending on the success of the programme/the availability of funding, it was hoped it could eventually be rolled out to other parts of Northland over the next 12 to 18 months.