Reducing the leadership opportunity divide

Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database
Issue date:
Involved and empowered

The Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database aims to make access to information on youth leadership opportunities more transparent, fair, and equitable for all young people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We want every young person to have the opportunity to reach their full leadership potential,” says Michelle Huang, Chair of Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ, the organisation that developed the initiative.

“Having diverse leadership across all sectors and at every level of society is important to making Aotearoa more inclusive and fair,” says Michelle. 

“However, the reality is that young people don’t have equal access to leadership opportunities, and many groups are under-represented. Barriers can include not knowing what opportunities are available, or when or how to apply.”

The Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database (RLOD) was developed to help change that. The open-access platform provides crowd-sourced information on leadership opportunities available to young people.

Financial support is also available to students and alumni from decile 1-3 high schools, to enable and empower them to access youth leadership opportunities and help reduce the opportunity divide.

Help wanted!

“RLOD is designed to involve and be collectively owned by the wider community,” says Project Lead for the Database, Marie Ysabel Landingin, shares that

“Removing barriers to access for young people in Aotearoa is a shared responsibility. The RLOD thrives on the collective engagement and contribution of every individual, and its future relies on everyone taking part.”

Businesses, government agencies, opportunity providers, schools and community organisations can view or submit their leadership opportunities to the database, making them visible to a wider group of young people.

Opportunities can include things like programmes, conferences, workshops or forums, surveys, awards, and committee or advisory group memberships.

What’s been achieved so far

RLOD was officially launched at Youth Week 2022, and just celebrated its first birthday. In 2021, the RLOD project team researched the case for change and shared their findings with the likes of the Minister for Youth and Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities.

Key milestones in the past year include:

  • within first month of launching, 200 new users, 39 new opportunities, and 33 organisations represented on the database
  • several outreach events held with teachers and young people, seeking feedback and suggestions for improvement
  • improved accessibility of the database, by removing the login function
  • by May 2023, the database featured over 100 opportunities from over 50 unique opportunity providers, and continues to be well-utilised, with between 1,000 - 2,000 views per month.

Where to next?

  • Undertake a brand refresh, to improve the platform's user experience, appeal, and accessibility to rangatahi.
  • Resources (including posters and videos) will be shared with teachers and community organisations to tencourage and empower them to share this kaupapa and resource with their ākonga and rangatahi directly.
  • Ongoing check-ins with key and influential stakeholders (including government agencies, opportunity providers and community organisations) to progress the conversation on how we can collectively improve access to youth leadership opportunities and close the opportunity divide. The RLOD is only one of many steps to address the opportunity divide in Aotearoa.

More about RLOD and MYLN

RLOD is run by volunteers from Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ (MYLN) and is supported by the Tindall Foundation.

MYLN is a network of ethnically diverse young leaders (aged 18 and 35 years) who are committed to strengthening social cohesion, championing ethnic and intersectional diversity in leadership, and empowering diverse young New Zealanders. Other initiatives they lead include a mentorship programme, a speaker and networking series, and a National Multiethnic Young Leaders Summit.