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Doug’s college principal referred him when he was 15 years old for not returning back to college after the summer holidays and described him as “living in his bedroom”. A supporting letter was received by Doug’s college guidance counsellor that said that Doug didn’t have any ‘push factors’ stopping him from attending school as he had no problem with bullying, teachers or the work. When phoned, Doug said all he was interested in was getting a job so the practitioner offered to work with him on finding work.
From the first appointment the practitioner listened to what Doug’s goals were and how Doug believed he could reach these. Doug said his dream job was to stack shelves at The Warehouse full time and to reach this dream he needed to create a CV and hand this into the local Warehouse. Doug was very quiet and the practitioner knew it would take some time to build a relationship with him, however the practitioner was also passionate about helping Doug reach his goals, and if possible expand on his goals.
The practitioner met with Doug weekly to work on his CV. Each session involved one small aspect of his CV while also setting Doug ‘homework’ to do in between sessions. After three sessions of working on strengths, interests and a personal statement it was time for Doug to list his educational achievements. It became clear to Doug that unfortunately he didn't have any qualifications to write on his CV so we started talking about getting back into education.
Two months went by where Doug did attend appointments, however they kept checking in with him. The passion, perserverance and persistence from the practitioner proved to Doug that the practitioner was in for ‘the long haul’ and he was wanting to help Doug achieve his goals.
After this period of absence Doug re-engaged with the practitioner to look for suitable education. The practitioner took Doug to a local Private Training Establishment where Doug enrolled on a Level 1 Employment Skills course. The practitioner continued meeting fortnightly with Doug to check in and help Doug through any difficult situations. During this time Doug decided he didn't want to find work at the moment as he was enjoying his course full time, instead he wanted to gain his learner’s licence. The practitioner and Doug met fortnightly to work on his licence and after 6 months Doug passed: the first thing he had ‘achieved’ since leaving primary school.
Doug then completed his Employment Skills course and in the process gained NCEA level 1. Doug’s relationship with the practitioner and tutors was good and he decided he wasn't ready to leave education so asked the practitioner about doing a Level 2 Retail course. The practitioner gave other options that might bring more work opportunities but listened to Doug’s perspective and then helped him enroll on the course. Upon completing this he gained NCEA level 2 and had work experience at two local department stores. From this course Doug decided that working in Retail wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore so did a level 2 Business administration and Computing course. Although he already had Level 2, Doug really enjoyed this, and moved onto doing a Level 3 Business Administration and Computing course. Doug again completed this course and had gained NCEA Level 3 along the way.
As Doug was working towards gaining NCEA Level 3 he and the practitioner decided that they would cut back on how often they would meet with each other as Doug was becoming more and more independent. They met monthly and started to plan life after Level 3. Doug decided he would really like to become a nurse. The practitioner set up a meeting with a local nurse to talk about where they think the best place to study this is. At the beginning of the next year Doug enrolled onto a Level 4 foundation in health studies course. He has been in contact with two other tertiary providers to inquire about their Bachelor of Nursing courses and is working with the practitioner to decide on which provider he would like to go to, to complete his degree.
Throughout the two years of working with the practitioner Doug has not only succeeded in his education but also gained a learner’s licence, found out what he is really passionate about and made some new friends who he socialises with most weekends.
Resilience Research Centre NZ - Youth Research Site 2013