Since 2016, the Papakura Local Board has been giving young people a helping hand with its financial scheme that provides a scholarship grant for those embarking on tertiary study, trade or leadership courses.
The Papakura Youth Pathways and Excellence Grants recognise the importance of ensuring young people get a great start in life and provide awarded applicants a maximum of $2000.00 towards their chosen tertiary or vocational studies as per the scholarship criteria.
The Scholarship Grants are open to those between the ages of fourteen to twentyfour and to be considered, applicants must live within the Papakura Local Board area and be involved in extra curriculum activities either within their school (if still attending) or elsewhere in the community. The grant is applicable to a broad coverage of things whether it be voluntary work to local church involvement or working with St Johns Ambulance, as long as the applicant has shown a willingness to give a little of themselves back to their communities.
Felicity Auva’a, Deputy Chairperson of Papakura’s Local Board says it had been decided in the previous term to set up the scholarships (then known as the Papakura Youth Scholarships) by the former Chairperson, Bill McEntee who saw its successes in Manurewa.
“There was a real need to place importance on excellence and to help young people wishing to further their education, so we decided to broaden it and changed its name to what it is now and open up the other side of it, not necessarily academic going on to tertiary, but open it up to tradespeople too,” says Felicity.
She says they want to achieve a great workforce and build up our local jobs, while supporting our local tradies, electricians, builders, plumbers etc.
“There is so much growth happening in Papakura, Drury and Clevedon that often there are a lot of people coming from overseas just to help out with our workforce. If we can build up our own workforce and build up our young people for these trades, it would be wonderful.”
Since the Government’s introduction of one year free tertiary study for students finishing school in 2017 and 2018, the Local Board has recently awarded its third round of scholarships, December 2018 and while there were initial fears this announcement would change things dramatically for the grants, the Board has had no shortage of applicants.
Felicity says for young people it is expensive these days with travel costs and of course, trades that need tools etc, so its not always about course fees.
“We’re forthright here in Papakura wanting our youth to succeed and we have quite a high youth percentage compared to other boards, but more importantly, in a lot of high school, scholarships are usually awarded to the top five, but there could be another layer down that miss out by one point or whatever it may be, so yeah they too deserve to get something for all their hard work.”
With such a strong emphasis of building community, the Local Board looks forward each year to rewarding its recipients and building leadership material.
“Those who have gone through the scholarships actually do end up coming back to Papakura to live, which is wonderful, because it is such a neat place to live,” says Felicity.
This year’s applications for the scholarships open in September 2019 and closes November 2019. Find out more and submit your application today at http://aucklandcouncil.smartygrants.com.au.