A place just for youth at NZSEG

The New Zealand Skills and Education Group has launched their new Youth Academy, providing free study for 16-19 year olds, with a fun-packed Youth Experience Day at their Manukau campus last month. The launch showcased to the local communities, schools and prospective students the academic, vocational and life opportunities available throughout Auckland.





“Our Youth Academy provides places our rangatahi can feel confident to come and talk about what options are available for their future,” says managing director of NZSEG Brijesh Sethi.


“It’s for students who, for whatever reason, can’t be a part of mainstream.”


He adds the Youth Academy is a place students evolve from and come out of their shells, discovering their strengths which enable them to grow and develop themselves.


“They grow for themselves and their whanau so that they don’t go in the wrong direction … we hope our Youth Academy will lift up their self-esteem and confidence and lead them to a better life in the future.”



The aim is to provide the youth within our communities with more options and the knowledge they’ll be well supported at any of the schools under the NZSEG umbrella.


ATC Military Prep Head of School Marina Masame Naborisi says Youth Academy is a promise to the youth studying at NZSEG that they are valued.


“We wanted to dedicate something just for them, so no matter which programme you’re doing, whether you’re enrolled in an adult programme or youth programme, if you’re aged 16-19, we want you to be part of a Youth Academy,” says Marina.


“We are dedicated to serving our youth and ensuring they’re our priority in the organisation.”


The academy covers a range of sectors with flexible study options, holistic support services and industry-aligned vocational and academic pathways. Pingi Maka, NZSEG’s student recruitment support manager, wants students to take advantage of them.


“A lot of kids don’t know where to go after high school, or know where to go if high school doesn’t work out for them,” says Pingi.


“We don’t want them to sit at home. We want them to start thinking, ‘well, what else can I do?’”


Youth Academy is not just about academic skills; they teach a lot of vocational skills as well as life skills, which students are able to take with them anywhere, no matter what they have studied.


“We have early childcare, healthcare, business administration, university prep, design and arts, and the fitness and social services programmes under the military prep school.



“We also have a lot of connections to support our students,” says Pingi.


“If there’s any connection that we can tap into to help our students which is at no cost to our kids, we bring them in to be a part of the whole association with our students, engaging with them.”


It’s important, says Pingi, that students who enrol into NZSEG’s Youth Academy know they’ll be well supported and is why Youth Academy is a zero-fee study option.


“We try our best not to incur any debt on them, so the fear of growing debt from fees it is not on their mind when they’re studying here, and they can focus on succeeding to the best of their ability.


“Being debt-free in their mind enables them to do more in life … we want them to know we’re here to provide a service to the community and that includes them.”


It’s a service ATC student Eunice Foaga is making the most of in her preparation for a career in the military.


“I’ve been here since February, it’s solid,” says the 17-year-old Samoan.


“I’m learning a lot now, but back in school I didn’t normally listen to the teacher and did my own thing.”


Having been taught the importance of discipline, respect and order - values directly important to her desired career choice in the army, Eunice says being part of Youth Academy has been helpful.


“They’re more understanding here and are specific with their instructions, which helps me to complete my work.


“I want to do something useful with my life. Being here has helped me to move away from a bad path into something more meaningful.”

For more information about NZSEG’s Youth Academy or to register, go to YOUTH ACADEMY.


Leadership skills for the long run



James Harrison came to Advanced Training Centre (ATC) Military Prep school a rather shy, reserved student and graduated a confident young man with a purpose, and the skills to eventually fulfil that purpose.


“I wanted to learn some skills before going into the army, following in the footsteps of some of my family members,” says the now 19-year-old of Maori descent with ties to Waikato-Tainui Iwi.


Before attending ATC James, who was born in Waikato but raised in Massey, west Auckland, says he found school and building relationships with his peers difficult.


“Didn’t really know how to interact with people, it was very hard.”


James attended a secondary school where he says he was constantly bullied. He couldn’t take being targeted anymore and, in his own words, “smashed someone over because I was sick of being bullied”.


In no way condoning violence, James admits getting kicked out at the start of year 10 was probably the best thing for him, because eventually he found himself at ATC.
James was part of the first cohort for the west Auckland branch in New Lynn, starting late 2016.


“It was really cool, strict, but exactly what I wanted, something challenging,” he recalls.


“I encouraged myself to do it because I always wanted to, but also I found out my uncle Shane had done it.”


But James didn’t shy away from the challenge at all, flourishing at ATC and being made IC (In Command) of his Alpha section cohort.


“One of the staff members saw that I was a good leader and put me in that position,” recalls James. “At first it was really hard, because telling people what to do is hard.


They didn’t really listen to me at first, but it became a great learning experience.”


James says ATC helped him become a more confident person.


“ATC helped me gain more confidence in forming relationships and interacting with people. It gave me the leadership skills I needed.”


The greatest part, however, was some of the lasting friendships he’s formed.


James currently works in the hospitality industry, putting his family first and looking after his dad. But he’s thankful he’s gained the skills at ATC to qualify for and join the army all in due time.


After all, it’s in his blood.


For more information about NZSEG’s Youth Academy or to register, go to YOUTH ACADEMY.