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Comet Achieving Educational Outcomes In Manukau

11 July 2005

Comet Achieving Educational Outcomes For Young People In Manukau

The City of Manukau Education Trust, (COMET) presented their six monthly report to Manukau City Council's Economic Development Committee meeting on 6 July. Sir Barry Curtis, Mayor of Manukau wanted it noted in the minutes the outstanding work the Trust has done since its establishment in 1999.

COMET is one of the best performing Council Controlled Organisations. In the current corporate year it has successfully delivered the Manukau Family Literacy Programme, funded by the Ministry of Education; the Youth Transition Brokers programme, funded by the Ministry of Social Development; and the Principal for a Day programme, funded by Manukau City Council.

Sir Barry says, "The issue of many of our young people, in particular those of Maori and Pacific Island heritage, being inadequately qualified and poorly prepared for the workforce has been well documented. COMET, born out of Manukau City Council's Education strategy, was established to address these imbalances. At the time we were taking a huge leap of faith that this approach would work. We have been lucky to have had on board since the beginning an exceptional CEO in Bernadine Vester, who has given of her all since the outset.

"In order for the Trust to succeed it needed to be supported by government, businesses, schools themselves and local government. Through the superb effort and dedication of Bernadine and a hard working Trust very capably led by Chair Dr Stuart Middleton, this has been achieved with partnerships set up with key organisations and tertiary providers to support the successful programmes which have been developed." COMET has been exploring support mechanisms for businesses, schools and students, such as a brokerage service, to resource mentoring and partnership programmes in Manukau. This has been manifested in the successful 'Te Wero: Pathway's Challenge' launched in 2000 to help our youth make a positive school-to-workplace transition.

Sir Barry says, "Last year 60 schools participated in the Principal for a Day programme whose objective it is to strengthen school-business partnerships. This highly successful programme has brought COMET into national prominence receiving huge publicity. School principals and business and community leaders have become wholeheartedly involved along with our own Councillors and City Manager, Colin Dale. Last year Paul Holmes participated and presented it on his evening show.

"The Manukau Literacy Programme at Bairds Mainfreight Primary School, which I have seen in action, works with families to increase literacy and has been a resounding success.

"Education is the key to the future and I applaud the work COMET has done for young people in Manukau. Long may its good work continue "


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