FFTO to be replaced with expanded programmes

  • Paula Bennett
  • Steven Joyce
Social Development Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

The Foundation-Focused Training Opportunities (FFTO) programme is to be replaced from 1 January 2014 with an expanded range of more effective education and training programmes to help beneficiaries and young people get into work, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced today.

FFTO programmes consist of 26-week foundation-level training courses for beneficiaries funded by Vote Social Development and administered by the Tertiary Education Commission.

FFTO will be replaced by the following:

  • 2,000 to 4,000 additional short duration training providing industry skills for beneficiaries at high risk of being on a benefit in the long term.
  • 1,420 additional English for Speakers of Other Languages places.
  • 1,350 additional Intensive Literary and Numeracy courses.
  • Fees-free foundation education (level 1 and 2 courses) for 20-24 year-olds.
  • The extension of Youth Guarantee for 18 and 19 year olds.

“The performance targets set for the FFTO programme have not been met. In the past year only 28 per cent of participants went into work after undertaking the programme – compared to the performance target of 38 per cent.  Likewise only 17 per cent went into further education compared to the target of 26 per cent,” Mr Joyce says.

Mrs Bennett says participants in the FFTO programme have been less likely to become independent of Work and Income assistance compared with a matched group who did not take part in the programme.

“In Budget 2012, the Government signalled that $20 million of FFTO funding would be reprioritised to help fund welfare reform from the 2014/15 financial year. This change means the rest of the FFTO funding will also be allocated to these expanded programmes,” Mrs Bennett says.

“The Investment Approach to welfare reform requires a much more flexible approach to helping beneficiaries and young people than the old ‘one-size fits all’ philosophy.

“The Government needs to constantly refine our approach to ensure we are meeting the needs of young people, beneficiaries and employers.”

“Education is a vital stepping stone into work, with a level 2 qualification needed for employment. MSD will be working with the Tertiary Education Commission to ensure beneficiaries undertake level 1 and 2 education programmes that are most effective for their needs,” Mr Joyce says.

“From 2014, the Government will be providing a full suite of effective programmes targeting the needs of all learners.

Mrs Bennett says: “We’ve had real success getting young people into work with job subsidies and short work-focused courses. We want to expand this to provide beneficiaries with qualifications that meet the needs of employers and the wider labour market.”

TEC and MSD will be working closely with FFTO providers to manage the transitions to the expanded foundation-level programmes.