COVID-19: How do we create opportunity from this crisis? (YEP)

Posted on 19 May 2020

Kia ora koutou, 

I am writing to you all from my desk in Katikati, watching yellow leaves fall and cover the lawn in great piles. I have recently started to view leaves differently. Rather than debris that needs to be cleared, leaves have become lush piles of organic matter that can be used to add nutrients to the gardens. A pivot in thinking that shifts my focus from an annoyance of the extra work to an opportunity to create free mulch and compost. 

Aroha mai for this cheesy metaphor, but I feel we must view the chaos and hardship created by covid in a similar light. How do we create opportunity from this crisis? Can we work differently, smarter than before? Can we ensure we are much more mindful about inclusive practices that no longer tolerate injustices and inequities? And how do we support businesses to view our young people as critical assets as they pivot and repurpose what they do and what they sell? 

The last few months have been extraordinary. I have been so humbled and ‘wowed’ by the mahi of providers around the country. It has been remarkable to see people’s commitment, creativity, and determination to ensure their rangatahi stay connected, safe and still learning. 

I was pleased we could contribute in some way by producing digital resources. We will continue to do this until the end of June, creating five more sets. We are immensely grateful to Karlton Laing, who has become ‘That YEP Guy’. His ability to weave important kōrero together with humour is incredible. A big shout out to you, Karlton. 

As we move into level 2 this week, I am hopeful some normality will be restored, albeit we all know that we are not close to the peak of layoffs. Delivering YEP will have challenges as we navigate forward. I think this is a time for creativity, innovation and compassion.  

The YEP whānau has never been so important as we navigate these complex and challenging times. Please share any whakaaro, great ideas, practices that you come up with to support our rangatahi build skills, confidence, and well-being, particularly in relation to circumventing the constraints with facilitating work experiences. I will ensure your ideas are shared across our networks. 

Thank you everyone for your ongoing dedication and brilliance. 

Arohanui,  Shirley