About Youth Development

All of us, but particularly our youth, are stepping into a rapidly and dramatically changing world, like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Globalisation and technological advances are shaping the social, economic and physical environments of our world at an unprecedented rate. The youth that we’re growing today will be challenged by unexpected changes and obstacles in life that we probably can’t yet imagine. This is on top of going through the ups and downs of being an adolescent or teenager in the 21st-century. There’s no doubt about it, our youth need to be equipped with a bank of 21st-century skills and characteristics and a positive mindset. It’s our job, our obligation to ensure all of our kids succeed in life no matter what obstacles they face.

Sir Kenneth Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education believes that what we need is an education revolution. That radical changes in how we educate all students to meet the challenges of living and working in the 21st-century is essential.

Find out more about his strong beliefs in this video.

Why is it necessary to develop our young people?

We’re heading into a future where many young people will have or are being taught outdated skills, susceptible to automation, offshore workforces and skills not suitable for new and emerging jobs. There has never been a more important time to focus on youth development and ensure our young people are equipped with a bank of 21st-century skills and characteristics. Not just for their future, but ours and the planets too.

We urgently need our young people to have experiences and opportunities that develop their 21st-century skills. Young people who develop positive wellbeing and 21st-century skills, like resilience, confidence and connectedness, will be able to step outside of their comfort zone when faced with challenge and change and go on to achieve their absolute best. However, those who aren’t prepared with the necessary skills and lack resilience will always be at risk of not achieving their true potential. This could lead to high unemployment, struggling communities and low levels of overall health and wellbeing. Employers would also struggle to find employees with the right skills. There would be a huge drain on the New Zealand economy and further disadvantage those students without the right skillset.


We must collectively ensure that every child in our school system has the opportunity to be prepared for that world which is already upon us. We can’t control what’s going to happen out there, but we can control how we prepare our kids for it. That’s where the William Pike Challenge comes in. The William Pike Challenge also recognises students need to be able to step outside of their comfort zone and adapt to change. But in today’s society, students are getting less and less opportunity to do that, let alone unexpectedly.

The William Pike Challenge programme creates a safe place for students to get used to stepping outside their comfort zone by engaging them in new, challenging and rewarding experiences. It’s these experiences that help build up a reserve of vital 21st-century skills that will help students overcome challenges that they’ll no doubt encounter. Take a look at some of the experiences our William Pike Challenge schools and students get involved in.

Why our teachers keep offering the programme

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