Community Youth Worker

Training in welding in the Youth Development Trust workshop


  • The Community Youth Worker project has been set up by the Waimakariri Community Development Trust in partnership with Safer Community Council.
    Over the last seven years this partnership has resulted in a number of projects including a Young Parents College, a Youth Drug and Alcohol Service and a pilot project focussing on preventing bullying in schools.

    Crossing the Waimakariri River


  • To prevent young people falling through the gaps.

    The Youth Worker project employs two experienced local youth workers who work alongside young people (and their families) who have been excluded from school and who have diminished prospects for a positive future. It is seen as imperative that these young people are assisted before they become ‘acquainted’ with the unemployment benefit!


  • The project identifies young people whose lives are heading in a wrong direction. Typically they have a background of truancy, school suspension, petty offending, drug and alcohol abuse or other self harming behaviour. To show them another course for their lives the youth workers get alongside them and their families to provide personal support and positive role models.

    The two youth workers are Dave and Diane Stevens, both of whom have a successful track record of working in this field. Dave has been central to the establishment of the Youth Development Trust which has been instrumental in providing training and long-term employment for 94 people. Diane has particular responsibility for working with girls on the programme.


  • The Employment Catalyst in partnership with the Mayors Taskforce has given $14,000 to the overall costs of the project this year.

    The two Youth Workers who have been directly funded through the Catalyst Funding have an annual caseload of over 50 young people.

    Work skills - youth training project


  • For a good proportion of the young people the outcomes are positive although not always into permanent employment - being connected to positive experiences in the community is seen as a worthwhile outcome in itself….”even the experience of catching fish in a hailstorm was better than being stoned”!

    However the employment outcomes from the training programmes provided by Ydot (Youth Opportunities Trust), North Canterbury Community College, and Rangiora High School, are consistently in the top regional figures.

    Recent initiatives have included a Youth Xpo, showcasing training, support people, and programmes in the area. 70 agencies etc were represented and 2000-3000 young people visited.

    Currently, the Youth Card (carries contact details of agencies) is being updated, and a big launch is planned for September 1.

    Diane Stevens has worked with the girls to set up a Kapa Haka group as a means of focussing their attention on positive activities and involvement in their community.
    She is also involved with a group programme being drafted for introduction into schools aimed at girls who are at risk of dropping out or are having poor outcomes from school.

    The Community Youth Workers are involved in negotiating with schools and setting up alternative education plans, advocacy with the police, consultation with families, support with court appearances, referral to alcohol and drug counselling and placement on pre-employment courses.

    An important part of the support for the young people is presenting them with the opportunity to participate in challenging recreational projects. These activities help them to build relationships and show them they can have fun without using drugs and alcohol.

    Youth Development Trust
    Waimakariri Community Development Trust
    Waimakariri District Safer Community Council
    Police Youth Development Programme
    Waimakariri Mayor Jim Gerard

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    Youth Development Trust

    Waimakariri Community Development Trust

    Waimakariri District Safer Community Council

    Waimakariri District Council

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    Police Youth Development Programme

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    “ A significant focus within all of our projects is that they continue long term to ensure that there is consistent support for young people who are at risk in our community…I am aware, over the past five years, that youth workers Dave and Dianne Stevens have become an essential part of the combined Youth Worker Team which is working so successfully in the Waimakariri District. In particular, Dave’s development of training and employment opportunities for our district’s young clients is providing a sustainable and positive option which would otherwise not be available.”
    Jim Gerard, Mayor of Waimakariri

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    Project Contacts

    Community Workers
    Dave and Diane Stevens

    Safer Community Council Coordinator
    Deirdre Ryan
    phone 03 313 9829

    Waimakariri Community Development Trust
    Kath Adams
    phone 03 327 8861