Learning to survive, thrive and save lives

STEM Route – Career development and support


YSAR has a large focus on innovation, science, technology, engineering and maths.

We aim to promote youth engagement and career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through the Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) programme. By exposing students to the real-world application of science and technology within the Search and Rescue and Civil Defence Emergency Management sectors, we can categorically improve their skills in STEM, as well as see them place a higher value on science and technology as part of their personal development.

By understanding the relevance of science and technology to their lives, community and cultures, our students have been found to engage more cognitively with its application which has increased student STEM skills and the uptake of STEM careers. Of particular satisfaction for leaders has been the early adoption and uptake in STEM subjects by our Maori and Pasifika students, a demographic that is usually less receptive to these subjects. Overall, we provide students with the opportunity to become science and technology literate citizens allowing them to engage withscience and technology to make informed decisions on social-scientific issues affecting their community and country.

The other major step change for our organisation has been the alignment of our course material with the education system’s STEM programme and emphasis.  By aligning our activities with STEM objectives, we can create meaningful learnings that align with traditional classroom teachings.  Our students appreciate the practical deployment of STEM subjects from school, and this has resulted in more students seeking tertiary or vocational opportunities in these fields.

In essence identifying the students aspirations or giving them options for aspiration, identifying organisations, education providers and sectors who provide STEM pathways and connecting the students. The Ministry fo Youth Development strategic priorities number 5 highlights what we are wanting to achieve as an organisational objective.

Ministry of Youth Development Priorities


  1. The aim is for all young people in New Zealand to have the chance to participate in youth development opportunities.
  2. In November 2015 Government agreed a new direction and priorities for the Ministry of Youth Development:
  3. Increasing the number of quality opportunities for youth development overall, which includes those that provide leadership, volunteering and mentoring experiences.
  4. Increasing the proportion of opportunities targeted to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  5. Working in partnership with business and philanthropic organisations to jointly invest in shared outcomes.
  6. Building a formal recognition of young people’s community and voluntary participation and contributions by having a way that this can be recorded and valued.


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