At CONNECT we believe people are at the heart of all we do, and we work hard to for our community and young people every day, to ensure we are doing our bit to “Build a Resilient Central Hawke’s Bay Community. 

 CONNECT started after the last recession as Connecting for Youth Employment in 2012, a time when opportunities were harder for young people.  We started with a strategic goal of ensuring that Central Hawke’s Bay young people had access to employment and opportunities locally, matching employers with young people, pastoral care and support and alongside that a highly successful community driver licence program.  We were true leaders in the youth and community development space, being fluid and responsive to our people’s needs.  We set up at the local EIT in Waipukurau that offered us office space and have been there ever since – a partnership that we truly value and are grateful for. 

 The world is a different place several years on and employment and training opportunities have increased in CHB for all, especially our young people.  Post COVID CHB District Council gained funding through Mayors Taskforce for Jobs to run employment and training initiatives.  We supported this initiative and handed over the training and employment reigns which allowed our organisation to reshape what we do.  2020 we changed our name to reflect the work that we are successful in which led to a change in strategic focus and name to reflect the work we now do……

 “CONNECT Youth and Community Trust”.   Connecting people and community to opportunities through:

  • Being leaders in the community driver licensing space
  • Doing what we can to reduce offending in CHB
  • Doing our bit to help build resiliency within people, groups and community





How do we work?

  • We collaborate, connect & use strengths
  • We have a growth mindset
  • We innovate
  • We see potential
  • We believe everyone has a hope & a future
  • We see the bigger picture
  • We build networks of support – a whānau approach
  • We know what we are good at and do that well



  • Provide opportunity for youth and community development, training and employment
  • Leaders in community driver licensing
  • Everyone has a full clean license
  • To use a license to reduce offending
  • Ensure safer people on our roads
  • Connect with other organisations to create a network of support for community wellbeing
  • Build resilience in people


Our Results: 

  • Over 850 driver mentoring hours and 800 hours of professional driving instruction per year ​
  • 40 people on a benefit per year progress to their full or restricted stage of licence​
  • 40 Māori students at CHB College and Te Aute College to a restricted or full per year ​
  • Over 110 16year olds achieve their learners licence per year and 80 restricted licenses while at High School​
  • 100% success rate for all referrals through New World ​
  • Run 3 x Defensive driving courses with 50 participants with 100% achieving their full drivers' licence ​
  • Every student 16+ had a session with local police on importance of being legal and safe on the roads​