Careerforce - Earning while learning

Careerforce’s industry-based training programmes allow people to earn while they learn and transform their passion for people into clear career pathways. McKenzie Tuala-Pine is a youth coach with Reconnect Family Services who is studying Careerforce’s New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work. The on-the-job training programmes enable her to both inspire young people to build positive futures and be the best mum she can be for her daughter Layla. McKenzie shares her journey with us:



What do you love about your work?


When you’ve had trouble with the Police and your school or family life seems to be falling apart, it can be hard to stay focused and on track.
As a youth coach for Reconnect Family Services’ Support Bail Programme, I work closely with young people who have found themselves on the wrong side of the Youth Justice system.


Many of these kids don’t come from the greatest backgrounds and don’t have positive role models or encouragement to make the right choices in life. Having a youth coach can be really crucial for some young people in these situations, as they’ve got someone to bounce ideas off and support to build a better life.


My career goals for the foreseeable future are to complete my New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work and go on to study a degree in Social Work. My long-term career goals are to set up a mentoring programme that identifies the shortfalls befalling females within the youth justice system and finding solutions for these issues.


Tell us about your qualification and Careerforce training journey.


I’m studying the New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work (Level 3) through the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) Careerforce.
Training with Careerforce is a great opportunity for young parents or working families. You can learn on-the-job while you earn, without needing to take extra time off to attend classes.


I have a five-year-old daughter called Layla and am studying a qualification where I can work as well as study, support my family and obviously be a great mum at the same time.


If you’re a parent and still want to study, it’s definitely achievable with Careerforce.


I’m very lucky to have the support of reconnect behind me. They really have my back and are a great team.


I’m gaining a great qualification while I’m also able to be a mum and see my daughter Layla grow into the confident young lady she is. It’s awesome and is the most important thing for me and my partner.


What advice do you have for people who are keen to join the youth sector?


Follow your heart and be true to yourself. If you have a passion for helping others, then definitely consider a career path as a youth coach.


You can help create positive outcomes for our young people and communities.


McKenzie’s great work has paid off. She was nominated Careerforce’s 2017 Hero for the annual Got a Trade? Got it Made! Week in late August when young trainees and apprentices shared their success stories.

Find out more about Careerforce’s workplace-based training programmes and kick-start your training journey today at