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Jones' Village Sports Academy joins with Unitec

MEDIA RELEASE                              19 February 2013

Jones' Village Sports Academy joins with Unitec to provide new opportunities for Pacific and Maori youth

Legendary former All Black Michael Jones, founder and Chairman of the Village Sports Academy (VSA), has been the driving force behind a new partnership with Unitec focused on lifting the achievement of disengaged Pacific and Maori youth who leave school without qualifications.

VSA has teamed up with Bridgepoint Foundation Education at Unitec to offer a new 16 week Level 2 foundation programme that aims to build confidence, knowledge and encourage leadership skills which are essential for a career in sport.

"We had always identified Unitec as an ideal partner for us. Their focus on West and Central Auckland, and commitment to engaging Pacific and Maori youth aligns perfectly with our philosophy," says Jones.

"Education is the doorway to get into work, so it's important to do courses that lead to jobs. By offering vocational skills, Unitec and VSA are ensuring young people come out and gain employment; because ultimately it's about more than qualifications, it's about the opportunities these qualifications open up for our people."

The course is set to begin on the 24th of February with the official launch taking place on the 26th of February. The launch will include breakfast with the Blues Super Rugby Franchise who are based at Unitec.

"The course is all about supporting these students into success," says Nick Sheppard, Bridgepoint's Academic Director, "It's a real collaborative approach to increasing the success of these learners and the next step is to connect them with pathways in sport, nursing, early childhood education, construction, engineering and other programmes. We're excited about breaking down the barriers between tertiary and community and working together in new and innovative ways."

As leaders in their community VSA are passionate about being part of the solution by providing access for Pacific and Maori youth into education. Jones says, "Our course uses sport as a hook, because for a lot of our young Maori and Pacific people sport is something that they're passionate about."

"We believe there's potential in every young person and we're committed to doing our part to make a difference. We want to get them into jobs as we see that as critical for a sense of purpose and family and self-empowerment. Our catch cry is maximise your potential."

He also believes in individual and whanau transformation through education. "We're very passionate about that. It's great fulfilling a dream in sport, but education has always been the key to me being able to do what I want in life."

About the programme
Village Sport Academy - Certificate in Foundation Studies (Level 2) - Sport Focus
Unitec Mt Albert Campus
Fees free options available for 16-24 year olds
Start Date - 24th February 2014

Contact - www.unitec.ac.nz/vsa

ENDS

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