BootCamp1A six-week “bootcamp” is kicking off an EIT and Youth Quest initiative aimed at helping at-risk Maori and Pacific Island youth into trades training and jobs.

During their introduction to a year-long programme, the first intake will be flown by RNZAF helicopter to Santoft Forest near Ohakea to spend 10 days learning life skills in the bush.

“The experience reshapes them,” explains Todd Rogers, EIT Head of School for Trades and Technology. “Youth Quest plays a vital role in breaking them down and building them up again. They learn to manage their time, look after themselves and team mates and simple things like getting themselves to classes and maintaining good study routines.”

Midway through the bootcamp, those accepted into the scheme will start one of five trades training programmes they have chosen at EIT.

Based at Camp David, they will spend three days a week in the classroom and two days at the Havelock North adventure camp undergoing physical training and mentoring under the tutelage of Youth Quest @ Camp David director Paul Fong who has served in the New Zealand Army and in the Police.

The students will undertake leadership training during term breaks. There is also the opportunity for families to join them at Camp David at weekends.

To be accepted into the scheme, would-be students must commit to 12 months training and have good whanau support.

“Work experience is part of the package, and there is every likelihood they will be offered employment at the end of the year.”

Januarys intake is limited to 12 students and “we would like to repeat this six-monthly,” says Todd.

The targeted age group is 18-34 but can include 15 to 17-year-olds. Applicants are invited from throughout Hawkes Bay.