Govt invests a further $3m to tackle Eastern Bay of Plenty youth unemployment

Minister of Employment Willie Jackson announced at today’s Bay of Connections annual forum a further $3.08 million investment to tackle youth unemployment in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

He Poutama Rangatahi is an initiative that was launched this year to target those regions with a high number of rangatahi not earning or learning, and providing support to both rangatahi and employers within those areas.

“Earlier this year we announced $1.7 million to support work readiness programmes in Opōtiki, and I am thrilled to confirm today’s further investment into the Eastern Bay communities of Opōtiki, Whakatāne, Kawerau and Te Teko,” Willie Jackson said.

“When our rangatahi find themselves out of work or training, they drift and become disengaged and demotivated. Programmes like the ones announced today address some of those underlying issues which prevent rangatahi from gaining long-term employment. These programmes help to promote a pathway towards independence, capability and confidence building for our young people.

“Whānau support is pivotal to the success of these individuals and is recognised and incorporated into these programmes.

“But it’s not just our rangatahi that need support into training and employment.  Investment needs to be made into employers in these regions, to help and guide them as they bring on and build relationships with rangatahi, many of whom have been drifting for long periods of time, living in an environment where employment is not necessarily considered to be the norm,” Willie Jackson said.

The four He Poutama Rangatahi announcements include:

Kawerau District Council and partners will receive funding over two years to begin implementation of the Kawerau Pathways to Work Plan.  The Kawerau community has recognised the need to prepare for the upcoming workforce demand within the next 3 to 5 years and so is taking charge as a community and planning ahead.

Tāne Mahuta New Zealand Ltd are already working with whānau who are farthest from the labour market, and through HPR, will support another 24 NEET rangatahi, including wāhine into jobs and ultimately careers in forestry, with the ‘Learn While You Earn’ Forestry Training programme leading to full time employment.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua will also extend their existing services to pathway rangatahi into training and employment through their Whāia te Rangatiratanga programme, a whānau ora approach to planning and implementing strategies and activities to support rangatahi through a step-by-step, incremental pathway that builds on their strengths to assist them in achieving sustainable employment.

Opōtiki College will be able to provide more tailored support for individual college students at risk of becoming NEET, with more access to ‘hands on’ learning options, individualised pastoral support, support for whānau to help their rangatahi stay in education and on the path to employment, build relationships with employers, and provide exposure to work places for college students at high risk of becoming long-term disengagement after they leave school.

“I am heartened to see how the communities have come together to support the future of their rangatahi, and I look forward to seeing many more of these projects established in the future,” Willie Jackson said.