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Kāinga Ora and Spotless celebrate biggest ever cohort of young Mangere cadets

11 May 2021
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Kāinga Ora and Spotless celebrate biggest ever cohort of young Mangere cadets

Seventeen-year-old sisters Tarial, Salote and Aliitasi Seuteni were busier than usual during the term one school holidays; they spent them getting up early and learning how to wire in lights and install ovens.

The sisters were among 35 youth, including five young women, recognised at a recent awards ceremony for their involvement in the Mangere Development Cadetship Programme.

Under the programme, Year 12 and 13 students from Mangere College, De La Salle, Southern Cross and, Auckland Seventh-day Adventist High School gain two weeks’ work experience in a range of trade businesses that contract to Spotless, a Downer company. Cadets work with plumbers, electricians, painters and carpenters.

The Seuteni sisters were assigned to electrician company Newborn Electrical and while they say it’s too early to tell if they want to become electricians, they enjoyed the opportunity to get hands-on experience.

Speaking at the event, Kāinga Ora Community Connector John Kumitau who created the programme with support from Nick Davidson, National Manager of Housing, Spotless, said it was great to see that it had grown from just five cadets when it began in 2018 to 35 – making it the biggest cohort in three years.

Mr Kumitau said the cadetship was designed to give Mangere youth exposure to different vocations and career advice, encourage employment and build confidence, as well as provide a proactive activity for the holidays.

“Kāinga Ora is not only building homes but we are committing to supporting youth.  They are our future.”

Hon MP for Mangere and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio, who presented the cadets with their certificates, said the initiative provides young people with an opportunity to find out for themselves what they want to do. Their commitment was encouraging for everyone.

“You’re getting to pick up skills - whether painting or hammering a nail -  you’re learning from some of the masters. You’ve got to find inside your own belly ‘is this something you enjoy?’ Your decision to be part of this gives us all a boost of confidence.”

Since 2018, about 80 students have gone through the cadet programme.

Kāinga Ora Regional Director Counties Manukau Angela Pearce noted the record number of cadets this year and acknowledged them and their whānau at the ceremony.

“We’d really love to extend this programme. It’s part of our commitment to growing communities. On behalf of Kāinga Ora, I hope these past two weeks have been enjoyable, have made you proud and have possibly sparked an interest in a future career path. You all have exciting futures ahead.”

This year’s cadets received $200 in vouchers as payment for their efforts. They were supplied full personal protective equipment while on the job, including work boots, which they were able to keep.

Click here to check out some photos of the proud students celebrating their achievements at the awards ceremony.