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Young generation caring for itself

April 2006

Young generation caring for itself

Two young WelTec graduates are helping teenagers solve their alcohol and drug problems. They are part of a new, younger, generation of counsellors working with serious youth problems on a daily basis; and loving it.

Vanessa Christie and Mark Limmer both have Alcohol and Drug Studies qualifications from WelTec. Vanessa, 26, has completed a bachelors degree and Mark, 27, has a diploma. Both are working at WellTrust, a secondary school alcohol and drug support service for the Wellington region.

WelTec’s Drug and Alcohol Studies Programme Manager Raine Berry says that traditionally people enrolling in these programmes have been older. “And that was how we approached selecting people,” says Raine. “But it’s now recognised that the sector needs younger people. It’s maturity that counts, not age.

“We’ve now introduced a Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Youth Work, which is attracting a younger group of students keen to help their peers with these issues,” says Raine.

Mark was inspired to join the field by his father, who also works in A&D. Vanessa says she has always been interested in counselling and when she was investigating her options thought that A&D had more interest for her. Mark says that their business is not doom and gloom. “There so much that’s positive,” he says.

Vanessa agrees. “We get a wide range of different clients. Some are quite complicated but others are well supported and really just going through a phase. If we can work with them early it doesn’t turn into a bigger problem.”

Several current WelTec A&D students are doing work placements at WellTrust as part of their studies and are supervised by Vanessa, who herself did a placement there as part of her degree. Both Mark and Vanessa had paid jobs with WellTrust before they completed their studies a couple of years ago.

WelTec’s Bachelor of Alcohol and Drug Studies is offered in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. Certificate and diploma programmes are also available in other parts of the country. For more information contact WelTec on 0800 WELTEC.


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