17 November 2011
Almost a dozen teens who were on the wrong side of the track are finding their way back using a west Auckland automotive training course.
The programme is run by Silver Fern Motorsport Charitable Trust in partnership with Hoani Waititi Marae and gives 40 teens, many referred by the Rangitahi Youth Court, hands-on experience in the automotive and motorsport industry.
The 10-day mentoring course helps build skills in panelbeating, tyre servicing and automotive dismantling.
Silver Fern Motorsport Charitable Trust co-founder Ted Jarvis unveiled a Holden Commodore the teens helped create at the first graduation ceremony of the course this month.
They were invited to sign the car before it was raced by Michael Bristow in the first round of the Fujitsu 200 at Pukekohe Raceway.
About 10 of the 32 teens referred by the court have started further training since the course was launched in April.
West Auckland Rangitahi Youth Court Judge Hemi Taumaunu says it's an excellent result. "The courts are 100 percent behind the course. Not only is it producing great results, it's ongoing because we've got a car here that will be racing and the programme has more funding to continue."
Hoani Waititi's Paora Sharples is proud of what has been achieved.
"This is only the first programme to be designed specifically for the Rangitahi Youth Court. So much can be achieved."
More funding has been secured for the programme to expand next year catering for 60 teens.
Mr Jarvis says the programme now gets referrals from other courts. "It makes me happy when I can see the difference between what the youth come here with and the skills they leave with."
- By Vanita Prasad (Western Leader)