Initiative creates pathways into the Kaiāwhina workforce for students


Kidsline – a telephone counselling service for children up to 18 year-olds is expanding its presence into Canterbury. This increased training and recognition will open up career pathways for high school students.

The globally unique service is run for children by children.

Every counsellor, or buddy in Kidsline speak, in the not-for-profit wing of Lifeline Aotearoa, is a secondary school student. Careerforce, the Industry Training Organisation for the health and wellbeing sectors has stepped in and offered additional training opportunities for the year 12 and 13 students, who are interested in becoming buddies. This training will gain them NZQA credits that can be used towards recognised qualifications in the health and wellbeing sectors.

With the health and disability workforces facing shortages of suitably qualified and experienced people in the future, this initiative helps to show and encourage students to consider working in such careers.

Careerforce chief executive and Kaiāwhina joint project sponsor, Ray Lind says the ITO has been working with the Kidsline to align their existing training programme with the unit standards from the New Zealand Certificate in Youth Work (Level 3).

“Christchurch students accepted as a Kidsline buddy will have the opportunity to complete some unit standards from this nationally recognised qualification, as part of their training.   As they are going to be participating in training anyway, we wanted to provide them with the opportunity to achieve credits and recognition for doing the work.”

The timing of the call centre launch in Christchurch comes amidst much discussion around the lack of funding for mental health services in Christchurch post-quake, especially for youth.

“We see Kidsline as a vital part of an established network that can offer a listening ear, understanding and support to children and youth who want someone to talk to. It is also a positive and proactive initiative to introduce these young people to some of the opportunities that exist in the Kaiāwhina workforce.”

Kidsline hopes to have 70 Christchurch students trained and offering this valuable resource to the community within 12 months. More information –

Updated 14 March 2016