Carterton teenager Zinny Jensen with his youth coach Abby Cooper. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Emily Ireland

When the Taratahi Institute of Agriculture went into liquidation last year, 16-year-old Zinny Jensen was at a loss as to what his future would hold.

Zinny left school at the age of 15 and has been working closely with Wairarapa Youth Service for a few years.

Based in Carterton, Wairarapa Youth Service works with young people not enrolled in education, employment, or training, and provides them with guidance, support, and encouragement to help re-enter them into education or employment.

Zinny is one of more than 100 young people on Wairarapa Youth Service’s client list.

Through the Youth Guarantee initiative, Zinny had started his studies at Taratahi before it went into liquidation.

“When Taratahi closed down, I thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere,” he said.

Fortunately for Zinny, his youth coach Abby Cooper was on hand to keep his dreams of working in the farming industry alive.

She had him enrolled into other courses and through Ag Challenge, Zinny achieved his New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Skills (Level 1 and 2) and graduated in April this year.

Zinny’s skills include rural health and safety, farm fencing, and livestock management.

Abby, Zinny’s youth coach, said over the time that Zinny had been involved with Wairarapa Youth Service, a few plans for his education had fallen through for him, “but the onus was on the education providers”.

“The saddest thing is, no one has really seen the opportunities that were taken away from the kids as a result.

“What Taratahi offered these kids in the way of farming, no one has replaced it.

“Ag Challenge did a good job, but there were major differences between what the education providers offered.”

Now, Zinny is linked up with the Licence 2 Work programme, run by Youth in Education Training or Employment (YETE).

Through this, he has made a CV, cover letter, and has work experience lined up in Carterton.

“I’ve learned the most important thing is to not give up on our youth,” Abby said.

“We’ve had to jump through some hoops, but Zinny kept coming back with his passion and we kept working together.

“Zinny knows what he wants. We weren’t going to give up.”

She said Zinny had massive support from his family and from Wairarapa Youth Service.

If there are any potential farmers that are recruiting young staff or looking to employ Zinny, they can contact Wairarapa Youth Service manager Tere Lenihan on 021 509 493.

Quiz night

On Friday at 7pm, a quiz night will be held at St Mark’s Church Hall in Carterton to raise money for Youth Service.

To book tickets or a table, contact Annie on 027 3455 744, or contact the Wairarapa Safer Community Trust Facebook page.

Pre-purchased tickets are $10 a person with a maximum of five people per team.

There will be a cash bar with beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and cheese platters.

There will also be a silent auction and raffle.