The YES programme is run collaboratively with the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. The programme is designed to strengthen young people’s connection to their community, encouraging them to engage with a range of emergency services and build skills. Since YES began, over 90 young people have gained valuable emergency skills.

During the four-week training under the blue skies of Mangonui/Taipa, the group was trained by skilled responders from across their region. These included representatives from New Zealand Red Cross, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management, Fire and Emergency NZ, the Police, St John, Far North Surf Rescue and Salt Air helicopters.

Iris Watson, one of the keen participants, said the training was “an awesome experience”. The Red Cross Disaster Welfare and Support Team from Northland taught lessons around triage, ground based rescue, radio communications, emergency first aid and patient handover techniques. Iris and her crew now have skills which could save someone’s life.

YES is also run in New Plymouth, where a squad of 14 have also completed Phase One of the programme. As both groups move into Phase Two, they will spend time volunteering with their chosen local emergency service. 

You can find out more about the Ministry of Youth Development's Youth in Emergency Preparedness Fund at