He Poutama Rangatahi projects for Opōtiki

Employment Minister Willie Jackson today announced funding of more than $1.5 million over three years for two pilot projects in Opōtiki that will support youth to employment as part of the He Poutama Rangatahi initiative.

“The latest Statistics NZ figures show that one in eight young people under the age of 25 aren’t earning or learning. This is the harsh reality that many of our rangatahi face, particularly in regions like the Eastern Bay of Plenty,” said Willie Jackson.

“However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and it’s the local communities that are best placed to identify barriers facing their young people and how these can be overcome.

“That is why I’m pleased that we can empower our communities through the He Poutama Rangatahi initiative to make use of existing and future job opportunities.”

Te Pou Oranga o Whakatōhea will receive up to $1 million over three years to establish a work readiness programme underpinned by pastoral care for 16-24 year olds currently not in employment, education or training.

They will also establish a Distance Learning Hub so young people can enter tertiary studies without leaving Opōtiki. This will help them realise their career aspirations while cutting down on travel and other related costs. 

A further $753,000 will be committed over three years to the Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust to support a ‘Work Fit Programme’ that will target youth most at risk of long term unemployment.

The programme will provide mentoring and support with life skills to increase participants’ work readiness, and to connect individuals to existing work opportunities and networks, or next level training.

“These are only the first steps we are taking to support youth employment in this region. Raising the education and skill levels is key to building a prosperous community and giving more positive choices to young people. 

“We will continue working with the Opōtiki community to support their rangatahi, keeping them engaged in education and on a pathway to sustained employment,” Willie Jackson says.