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Investment into zero youth unemployment


Wairoa has been selected to receive funding to invest in a localised complementary employment programme.

Wairoa is one of the rural Councils eligible to apply to the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs Community Recovery Funding and will receive up to $500,000 to be invested into a post-COVID recovery programme to support employment outcomes.

The success of a pilot programme featuring rural mayors connecting youth in their regions with local small businesses has led to the programme being scaled up around the country across 23 more councils.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little is a Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs Core Group member and supports the group’s focus to strive towards zero youth unemployment.

The funding will go towards creating a minimum of 50 sustainable employment positions.

Mr Little said the funding is a post-COVID-19 strategy involving a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development to support NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) and small and medium enterprise.

“Wairoa’s funding will also support larger industries and land-based employment. This funding will complement programmes that are already existing in the community such as apprenticeship schemes and work placement programmes etc.

“We know there has been a significant amount of Government funding into infrastructural and renovation work and through this partnership we will be able to train people to carry out some of the work we have been funded to complete.

“With all the Government Funding around at the moment, it’s important that this funding complements already existing programmes in the community, such as apprenticeship schemes, and work placement programmes. The aim is to complement not duplicate.

“This is a real win win situation to have Central Government funding improvements for our district and an employment strategy that aims to see our local people in sustainable employment.”

Mr Little said partnering with MSD is a big win for the Taskforce and an endorsement of the work being carried out.

The programme will connect employers and the people looking for work.

Before the COVID resurgence, the number of young people under the age of 30 seeking unemployment support had risen from 4.1% to 6.4%.

“Young people in rural communities tend to have limited access to services and skill development opportunities and this funding recognises that and provides solutions.”

Mr Little praised the work of Wairoa District Council Group Manager for Community and Engagement Kitea Tipuna saying the calibre of his application, which was described as strong and well received, was key to Wairoa receiving the funding.

“Again, in the post-recovery climate we are working in this application involved a very short time frame and we were fortunate we already had mechansims established so we could meet the requirements of the funding.

The Wairoa Young Achievers Trust (WYAT) delivers the NEET programmes in Wairoa.

Manager Denise Eaglesome-Karekare said this additional funding aligns perfectly with what the Wairoa Young Achievers Trust is already doing.

“We have built good relationships with iwi, businesses and the community and we believe we are more than capable of delivering this contract.

“We have a large number of young people who we are working with, and our client base just keeps growing with young people having enough confidence in us to self-refer and walk through our door.

“This funding complements what we are already doing and will strengthen Wairoa’s employment foundations.”

WYAT chairman James Baty said it is fantastic to see the Government further investing in Wairoa’s greatest asset - its people!

“This kaupapa forms part of tackling long-term challenges and delivering on commitments to changing the story for rangatahi in our community through training and employment, as well as supporting actions to set our young people on a strong pathway to fulfilling working lives.

“At the Wairoa Young Achievers Trust we know that sustained employment makes a real difference in the lives of rangatahi who aren’t currently earning or learning. It sets them on a course of long-term employment which will deliver benefits for entire communities.”

24 August 2020

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