Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Youth Transition Services

Every day you learn something new and today I was introduced to Youth Transition Services along with a small example of the outcomes they are delivering.

Three young "ladies" from our local high school were this morning nonchalantly walking past our motel while verbally interacting with one another (This involved screaming interlaced with copious swearing). This was not unusual, however they were pushing a supermarket trolley and after taking turns at pushing it, one of the girls heaved it into my driveway and ran off down the road with her other mates.

After I retrieved the trolley I delved through the discarded rubbish they had filled the trolley with and found amongst the fast food wrappers an interesting pamphlet from Youth Transition Services. I had never heard of this institution before and was intrigued.

After reading the discarded pamphlet and looking on the internet I am still not too sure exactly what Youth Transition Services provide. Apparently they "empower young people to identify and reach their potential through creating positive pathways."

There are 11 of these Youth Transition Services offices throughout the country that were set up in 2005 with the Mayors Task Force for Jobs and the Labour government to ensure that all 15 to 19 year-olds are in work, education or training by 2007. I wonder how that worked out?

A quick Google search on Youth Transition Services brings up various articles that mainly feature Auckland's current mayor elect, Len Brown that was championing the virtues of setting up a new institution at the time. As with many government's social initiatives it is difficult to ascertain how much this is costing me, however the establishment of Youth Transition Service was  part of the government's $56.9 million package that was to "make sure young people have the tools to become productive members of their communities." Are you feeling queasy yet?

...So what we can ascertain is that Youth Transition Services  have 11 offices that set up to receive a stream of goverment funding. They are each staffed with earnest folk that call themselves "coaches" and each branch has their own cool website. Photos on their various media show the laid-back coaches in their branded gear interacting with smiling baseball wearing youths that look reasonably pleased with themselves for not having the imposition of turning up at school and learning how to read and write.

I have no doubt that Youth Transition Services also produce the mandatory branded stickers, beanies, pens and other giveaways to promote their FREE public feel-good services. Translation: FREE means that you and I pay.

Further delving into the discarded shopping trolley, I found an interesting letter from the high school that was addressed to one of the student's caregivers (surnames have been deleted). Click for a larger view:

The letter is a sad indictment that invites so many questions including the aptitude of the school, however I was pleased that I was finally able to ascertain exactly what Youth Transition Services achieve.

Youth Transition Services is a separate learning institution set up because some students can't be arsed going to school. When kids are bothered to turn up at their alternative learning institution, they don't have to be accountable and get to wear their cool mufti-gear. Sorta makes us wonder why the remaining hapless kids still decide to stay at a mainstream school?

And I guess that we can also be grateful that mainstream teachers that can't be arsed teaching certain students have a handy alternative institution to refer these awkward pupils to;-)

Are Youth Transition Services performing a necessary task or are they creating special-needs students that are encouraged to leave school if the going gets too tough to be pampered and cajoled with a duplicated taxpayer funded education service?

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