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A new partnership, established between 10 Dunedin secondary schools, Otago Polytechnic and a Dunedin professional development firm, aims to help Dunedin school-leavers bridge the gap between school and the next step in life.
The Bridging the Gap programme has received $26,250 from the Otago Community Trust in the April round of donations, which will allow the Dunedin secondary schools to put 30 pupils each per year through a two-day course aimed at equipping youth with the skills and information they need to make fully informed decisions about their future.
Programme co-ordinator Michael Simmons said it would help pupils reflect on the path they wanted to create for their future, and set them on ''a positive life trajectory''.
''They learn about career paths, what the in-demand industries are, and tertiary education options,'' Mr Simmons said.
Youth unemployment and disengagement was a major problem in the southern region, he said.
The community partnership between the secondary schools, the polytechnic and professional development firm Richard Joseph and Associates, was the first step in creating a strong, resilient and capable economy, he said.
The Otago Community Trust grant was one of 35 given to Otago organisations, worth $611,300 in total, in April. Other recipients were: the Central Otago Regional Orchestra (Alexandra) $1000; Omakau School $10,000; the Robbie White Charitable Trust (Dunedin) $400; Dunedin Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Bird Club $400; Harbour Rugby Football Club Inc (Dunedin) $500; Otago Polytechnic Dunedin School of Art $750; the Wingatui Community Hall Society $2500; Otago University Debating Society $3000; Queen's High School $3000; the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust $4000; NZ Salmon Anglers' Association (Otago branch) $4000; Dunedin Community Transport Trust $10,000; Otago University Rowing Club $10,000; Otago Sports Car Club $15,000; Bridging the Gap $26,250; the Fortune Theatre Trust $45,000; Reid Park Kindergarten (Mosgiel) $5000; the Waitaki Tourism Association (Oamaru) $4000; Taki Rua Productions Society $3000; the Chamber Music NZ Trust $4000; Outward Bound $67,500; the Waikouaiti Amateur Music and Drama Society Inc $3000; NZ Mountain Film Festival Charitable Trust (Wanaka) $5000; Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust (Wanaka) $45,000.