Taare’s story – Youth Work student

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In Aotearoa, Youth Week is a festival of events which celebrates the talents, passion and success of our rangatahi. For Youth Week 2024, first-year Youth Work student Taare and his tutor Toni were selected to represent Youth Work education on behalf of Whitireia at the launch event at Parliament. We spoke to Taare about the launch, his journey to studying the Diploma in Youth Work and how it’s been since starting. 

Firstly, how was the Youth Week launch event? 

It was awesome, there were so many inspiring speakers and performances. Seeing these young people speak up and be heard made me feel like my voice matters too, which I’ve never really felt before. It was a big event; it was great to have my tutor Toni with me to support. 

What inspired you to get into Youth Work? 

There was a period in my life when I needed support, and youth workers were really there for me. They created a safe space where I felt heard. No matter how I was feeling or what had happened that day, they were always there to listen and lift my spirits.  

Have you always wanted to study Youth Work? 

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I finished school. Whilst I’ve always wanted to work with youth in some capacity, I wasn’t sure how to get into it, and I was a little intimidated by the prospect. 

I studied painting, but that didn’t excite me. Next, I tried carpentry, but right before I was about to jump into an apprenticeship, I tore my ACL. When I recovered and returned to work, I didn’t have the passion for it. My boss unfortunately had to let me go, and that rejection lowered my confidence. I didn’t want to do anything after that, but my family encouraged me to follow my passion, and that’s when I decided to pursue youth work. My friend who is a Youth Worker helped set me up with a job, and it immediately felt like the right space for me. I really enjoy helping people. After a while, I decided it was time to study. 

How has studying Youth Work been? 

I've been loving it, best decision of my life! There’s lots of love and support from the tutors. Being here helps me grow and heal as a person, mentally and spiritually. They’ve taught me the importance of talking positively to yourself, it’s restructuring my mindset. I've always been a bit shy, but building these skills is really growing my confidence.  

Is there any subject that you are particularly enjoying?  

I am really enjoying learning about building intentional relationships – I'm learning how to understand and approach situations better, and improve my communication skills. 

Are there any particular tools they teach you to help build intentional relationships? 

Lots! But it really comes down to listening to people. You want to help them on their journey, you’re not there to lead the way. You want to hear them out, and really understand what they’re going through. 

How have you found the tutors?  

They’re really there for you. They want you to succeed, so they make sure you’ve got the tools to do so. Watching them and seeing how they approach situations has really opened my eyes. They take the time to listen and are reassuring; it’s influenced how I interact with people.  

In the Diploma of Youth Work you have to do a certain number of hours at placement every year – where are you doing yours? 

I’m lucky to be doing my placement at Naenae Boxing Club! It doesn’t feel like work, I love being there to support people. Whilst there’s a big focus on boxing, it’s also about creating a safe space for youth to feel comfortable and be heard, and in turn building their confidence. Shout out to Tash and the coaches there as well, you guys are awesome. I learn a lot from just being there. 

What do you want to do after you graduate?  

Anything that involves sports and building one-on-one relationships.  

Study Youth Work at Whitireia  

Get a career in youth work by studying the New Zealand Diploma in Youth Work. Learn the skills that will help the young in the community grow to be the best versions of themselves. The block courses for this programme are designed with you in mind, so that you can complete studying either full-time or part-time, giving you that perfect work-study-life balance.  

Explore our Youth Work programme → 

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