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Employment success attracts additional funding

Wairoa waterfront on Wairoa River

Wairoa’s Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs employment programme has been so successful it has received additional funding to roll the project over for another year.

Wairoa was one of 23 rural Councils to successfully receive $500,000 to be invested into a post-COVID recovery programme to support employment outcomes through the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Recovery Funding.

The Wairoa Young Achievers Trust (WYAT) was contracted by Council to deliver the employment initiative and as at the end of June more than 50 local rangatahi had gained sustainable employment as a direct result of the programme.

In recognition of Council meeting all the target requirements of the funding, its application to roll the project over for another year was successful.

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.

Mr Little said it is a win win situation to have Central Government funding improvements for the district through post-COVID stimulus funding and an employment strategy that aims to see our local people in sustainable employment.

“Young people in rural communities tend to have limited access to services and skill development opportunities and this funding recognises that and provides solutions. The original funding has been transformative for a lot of young people. They have been empowered through training and employment and that must help strengthen our community. I am thrilled with the results and the work and achievements that have gone into having this funding rolled over. It is a tribute to all those involved and a fantastic opportunity to be able to support more youth into training and employment.”

The initial funding was 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. The MTFJ funding complemented existing programmes in the community, such as apprenticeship schemes, and work placement programmes, with the aim being to complement not duplicate.

WYAT already delivers the NEET programmes in Wairoa with manager Denise Eaglesome-Karekare saying the MTFJ funding aligns perfectly with what the Wairoa Young Achievers Trust is already doing and strengthens Wairoa’s employment foundations.

The funding has resourced rangatahi to become successfully employed in a variety of industries such as, painting/flooring, agriculture, horticulture, meat works, building and construction, youth support, landfill, road works, iwi/regulatory, trades, retail, hospitality and IT.

Funding has also supported the launch of a business health assessment which upskills business owners through a range of tools and technology. This initiative supports businesspeople to build capability and capacity which leads to further youth employment.

Ms Eaglesome-Karekare said the business health assessment was based around recognising business barriers and developing support to meet those challenges. 

“We are looking to the future and want to support for Wairoa by Wairoa. We recognise that our town and district need qualified and trained people to deliver services. We want to develop that locally rather than bringing those service providers in from out of town. The business health assessment is going a long way to achieving that. It is supporting people in business to do the job they are trained for by assisting them with the administrative requirements they need.”

WYAT chair James Baty said the WYAT team is working closely with a number of the larger initiatives being rolled out in town and working amongst businesses and the community developing opportunities for everyone.

“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.”

Ms Eaglesome-Karekare said we are not just putting rangatahi into jobs. We work with our clients to set up career pathways, preferably ‘learning and earning’ and gaining apprenticeships and qualifications to ensure a stable career.

“Our role is to help our rangatahi with the tools for their future. We work with youth from all walks of life to help them meet their aspirations and develop their skill sets and to help accomplish their dreams.

“From driving lessons and licences to training, courses free health checks and gym access our focus is on empowering our youth to be the best they can be.

“We are fortunate in Wairoa as we have a great base of employers who want to support our community by giving rangatahi a chance.”

Anyone who is looking for training, employment and career pathways or is a small business which needs support or someone looking to set up a small business, call into the WYAT offices in the EIT building on Paul Street or phone Denise on 021 835 794.

20 July 2021

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