Northland Waste & Kaitaia College: working together within the community

« Back to Community

Northland Waste & Kaitaia College: working together within the community

An innovative project between Northland Waste and the Kaitaia College first XV rugby team is inspiring a new relationship between local businesses, the College and the students in our community. 

Northland Waste have stepped up for Kaitaia College – and are encouraging other businesses to follow in their footsteps. When the Kaitaia College first XV rugby team needed sponsorship to fund their upcoming 11-day rugby tour to Rarotonga, coach Clendon Pene approached Northland Waste Far North Branch Manager Darryn Shanks for support. Not only did Darryn agree to support the team, but he pioneered a concept that would offer work experience for the College students while allowing them to earn and save the money required for their tour. The simplicity of this concept encouraged each student to take full responsibility for their own earnings – giving them a powerful sense of ownership for the project. In addition, each student experienced the processes involved in CV preparation, job interviews, IRD processes and bank account management. 

Kaitaia College

This level of ownership and responsibility is exactly what was needed to help these young men not only get the funding they needed for their trip, but to also model solid work ethics: all of which has had extremely positive flow on effects to other students at the school.

Clendon and Darryn both see the first XV team members as role models for the entire school, and through stepping them up into a role of responsibility within the community, they are promoting these values to other students. Conduct, attendance levels and grades are also criteria for the Kaitaia College rugby team, making their role within the school one of genuine respect. Darryn, an ex-Kaitaia College, ex-first XV rugby man himself, believed that Northland Waste could contribute a lot more than just money to this worthy cause, and through many round table meetings with Kaitaia College Principal Jack Saxon, the trio agreed on a truly ground-breaking work programme.

These senior students agreed to be given holiday work with Northland Waste to earn the money for their travel, with 50% of their earnings being automatically deducted into the travel account and the rest being theirs to use. They are given real jobs, real responsibilities, and real rewards.

IMG 1598

Clendon says this working relationship with Northland Waste has offered a perfect opportunity for these students to learn real-life skills by getting up early, arriving at work on time, working with grown men in their industry and earning the respect that comes with having done a hard day’s work. Other life skills such as how to fill out tax forms with the IRD and open bank accounts, have been an added benefit of the project. Students also learned CV preparation and interview processes, all aimed at boosting their confidence. Clendon believes in the philosophy of ‘hands up, not hands out’, and says the response from the school students and community has been overwhelming. ‘It’s about teaching kids skills and resilience. Like rugby, it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up again.’

‘The boys are back at school after their summer jobs and the response from them has been fantastic. They have risen to the challenge and changed their entire mindsets. These actions have a ripple effect through the school and the community with the positive role modelling - the younger kids are seeing that being a senior at the school comes with respect and real responsibility.’

From the outset Northland Waste viewed this as an opportunity to assist future student fund raising requirements in Kaitaia College not just a one-off and encourages other community-minded businesses to model a similar concept for their own local students.

DSC 0004

‘The response from the community, the students, and the College has been fantastic,’ says Darryn Shanks. ‘We couldn’t be happier with the way these students have stepped up for their team, College and for themselves. Northland Waste are proud to be working alongside Kaitaia College, and we look forward to continuing this strong partnership into the future.’