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It was a well-earned celebration for the final night of the inaugural Accelerator Programme which was launched by New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young alongside Taranaki Futures and the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce in April this year.
With a full house of over 120 parents, business mentors, coaches and school representatives attending the celebration, Accelerator proved it success with all students who joined, graduating from the programme with great experiences in businesses and growing confidence for their futures.
“Accelerator exceeded all expectations” says Jonathan Young MP for New Plymouth
“Local businesses did not hesitate to put their hand up to be part of this program to mentor our next generation of leaders, and that just re-enforces the incredible collaborative approach to invest in our youth by our local businesses.”
The success of Accelerator has spread quickly with others keen to get on board.
“We have been approached by several other regions in New Zealand who want the Accelerator Programme rolled out in their towns and cities, and we are proud that such a great initiative was started in Taranaki.”
Accelerator involved six local high schools. With only 53 placements available for the 96 applications for the programme, there will be a need for the programme to grow in 2017.
“The feedback has been extremely positive from businesses, schools and students and it shows Accelerator is providing that vital link between education and employment” says Young. “We have been asked by schools to double the student numbers next year so we have some work to do to get more local businesses on board.”
Local students each received an Accelerator Completion Certificate and reference letter from the Accelerator Programme at last night’s Celebration Event.
The comments from students were extremely positive.
 "Accelerator has given me the opportunity to really be sure about what I want to do when I leave school, and spending time in a professional work environment has given me invaluable experience for the future.” Says Lucy Byers, a year 13 student from New Plymouth Girls High School. “I'm so thankful to have been involved in the Accelerator program, and to everyone that was involved in the organisation of the program."
New Plymouth Boys High School student Corbin Giddy who was placed with Tasman Toyota said “By doing the accelerator program I am able to improve my leadership skills, as well as allowing me to make contacts with some of the most influential leaders in Taranaki.”
ACCELERATOR is a pilot programme that ran for nine weeks throughout term two, for senior secondary students.  It provided them with placement in a local businesses, alongside a leadership development programme led by ACCELERATOR coaches. The aim was to help young people experience the real business world in order to gain awareness of the opportunities in Taranaki, begin to define their goals for their career and help them in their tertiary course selections.

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