Aspiring Leaders Programme kicks off at Mana College

26 September 2019

How would you design an effective leadership programme for young people? And how do you keep them engaged?  

As part of a co-design leadership programme with a group of year 9 ,10 and 11 students at Mana College in Porirua, we asked them. 

What do you like doing? We asked. 

Eating, they answered. 

So to kick off a programme that is all about increasing self-confidence, developing team culture, decision-making and problem-solving, the students recently completed a MKR Challenge: Mana Kitchen Rules! 

The challenge was determined by the students: they would have judges, work in small groups, make the same food and compete against one another to produce a three-course meal.

Coming scoring time it was apparent - the judges were incredibly impressed with the meals that were produced.

Who knew you could make a pizza base with only two ingredients? Self-raising flour and yoghurt – if you’d like to give it a go yourself.  

Mana 3   Mana 2

 Sport Wellington have been working with the students to co-design this aspiring leaders programme with them since July.  

As part of Mana College’s Academy programme, every Thursday Sport Wellington staff have been engaging with a group of students and guiding them through their leadership journey.

Underpinned by the Leadership Framework, the overall objective is for the students to develop the necessary self-esteem to have a positive outlook on their future. The programme is run in partnership with Mana College and supported by the Ministry of Youth Development. 

10 top tips for co-designing programmes with young people: 

If you too are engaging with young people through your work, Fran McEwen, Young People Strategy Lead at Sport NZ, has some tips to help: 

  1. Co-design, Co-design, Co-design (Young people are the experts in their own lives)
  2. Remember no preconceived outcomes! (Allow space fo ryoung people to have their own journey and decide what works for them as individuals and as a group) 
  3. Leading looks different to everyone… (don’t force a young person to lead in a way that you want them to, leading self is enough! Turning up is enough!) 
  4. Always put the young person at the centre (Empathy is key)
  5. If it’s not working – pivot! (Be agile, go where the young people want to go –with boundaries where necessary)
  6. Did we mention whanaungatanga? (build relationships and trust before you ask young people to share their thoughts or ideas with you)
  7. Accessibility (Provide transport. Go to the young people,don’t ask them to come to you)
  8. Bring others on the journey – the more role models the better! (Collaborate with others in your community who share similar values or passion!)
  9. Create safe spaces (behaviour change occurs in spaces where young people feel safe to be themselves) 
  10. FOOD (how might you cook together? Can it be yummy and healthy?) + ENERGY is infectious! Create the VIBE

For more inspiration around co-design and leadership, check these other empowering programmes: 

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