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Andre Jay – A career committed to the success of young people
11 September 2020
Andre Jay – A career committed to the success of young people

Priority one caught up with Andre Jay a local young professional who is using his passion for people to guide the future success of Tauranga Moana. Andre Jay is the facilitator for the Imagine, Believe, Achieve programme which is one of Tauranga’s newest programmes designed specifically to engage, inspire and lead our rangatahi (young people) along a positive pathway to success. Check out his story here.

Andre, can you tell us your brief career story and a bit about yourself?

Having kids at a young age and having to grow up relatively quickly into parenthood might seem challenging to most. However, speaking here on behalf of my wife of 20 years we thrived in this chaos. After teaching for about seven years we took a risk with our two girls in order to get ahead in life. We began a six-year life-changing trip to live and work in Qatar in the Middle East. This helped set us up financially. When I returned to NZ and after almost 20 years of teaching I realised that the teaching profession was no longer for me. I decided instead to make a career change and begin a journey dealing with 'at risk' rangatahi in Tauranga. My early years were somewhat dysfunctional but I had always wanted to have a family of my own. I am an extremely passionate and driven person who sees the positives in most situations. I take a lot of these strong and positive values from my mother who passed away 21 years ago. I owe a lot of who I am to her. 

What is your role at Tauranga Youth Development Trust?

I am currently employed as the Facilitator for the Imagine, Believe, Achieve programme which was established under the umbrella of the Bay of Plenty Youth Development Trust and which came out of the development and growth of the Tauranga Boxing Academy. My key role is to plan and execute the programme. It has been designed to work with at risk rangatahi aged 15-24 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). We take the programme participants on a 13-week wellbeing journey that is based around the Māori whare tapa wha health and wellbeing model. 

We strive to get the youth ready for employment. The programme curriculum is based around the 8 employability skills (from the Ministry of Education's 'Licence to Work' document). We invite speakers in to share their personal journeys to inspire our young people and we deliberately expose them to as many different real-time life and employment experiences that we can. We also use ongoing reflective learning approaches to grow each participant's capacity for future employment. I am assisted by our Kaitohuhu/Advisor Paora Howe who helps me to navigate the daily challenges we face with our rangatahi through a cultural lens.