21 April 2011
A partnership between Hoani Waititi Marae and a west Auckland motorsport trust aims to help young offenders switch from stealing cars to fixing them.
Kelston's Silverfern Motorsport Charitable Trust and the marae launched a training programme last week which offers young people 10-day internships in the automotive industry. All the people on the programme have admitted guilt to a crime.
The programme begins next month and will be available to selected youth offenders going through the Rangatahi youth court at Hoani Waititi Marae in Glen Eden.
The mentoring course offers hands-on experience in panelbeating, tyre servicing and automotive dismantling.
It aims to increase young people's self esteem and teach them skills they can transfer to future employment.
Silverfern Motorsport Charitable Trust co-founder Marie Person says it will host four interns at a time.
"We wanted to keep it to four so there's a lot of one-on-one time."
She says they aim to have helped 40 youths by December.
Programme co-ordinator Ted Jarvis says the scheme has been three years in the making.
"We were coming back from a V8 race when the idea popped up and grew from there.
"Three years down the track we're thrilled because there is no greater gift than giving back. This will really give these kids an idea of what they can achieve in the future."
Veteran Motorsport driver Greg Murphy supports the initiative.
"I think it's something exciting to focus their energy into."
Paora Sharples of Hoani Waititi Marae says youth offenders will be keen to do the programme.
"A lot of these guys are into cars - it's a natural outlet. This could be the beginning of awesome careers for these guys."
- By Vanita Prasad (Western Leader)