PGF investment in regional education and skills training

  • Hon Shane Jones
Regional Economic Development

Up to 1800 people will have access to alternative pathways to work through a Government investment of $12.2 million in regional education and skills training, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a blow to New Zealand’s economy, with the effects being felt hard in the regions. Our recovery will be driven, in large part, by the regions so it is imperative businesses have a well-trained work force and Kiwis have more ways to learn and upskill,” Shane Jones said.

“This funding of $12.2m, from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, will support a range of education, skills training, pre-employment and job pathway projects in Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Manawatū-Whanganui.

“These projects will increase the number of people enrolled in PGF-funded skills and employment programmes from the 11,090 I announced last month to around 13,150.

“Investing in skills and education for our people not only supports them, their family and whanau and their communities, it supports regional businesses.

“Te Ara Mahi is just one of the many ways this Government is supporting the regions, from direct investment from the Provincial Growth Fund and through the $3 billion for shovel-ready infrastructure projects to funding for regional apprenticeships and worker redeployment,” Shane Jones said.

The projects being funded through today’s announcement are:

Bay of Plenty

Four projects in the Bay of Plenty region will receive a combined total of $3.7 million to help close to 600 people.

  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will receive $2.573 million to support its Technical Training Centre project which will help at least 40 people.
  • Whakaari Logistics Limited will receive $371,000 to put 15 people though the East Coast Practical Driver Training Pilot Programme.
  • Waiariki Film Studios GP Limited will receive $75,000 to support up to 20 rangatahi to complete an 18-week film and television training and employment programme.
  • Miro Trading Partnership will receive $717,000 which will support up to 400 people to learn more about growing Eureka blueberries. The funding will create 195 new fulltime jobs across 12 orchards.


Two Tairāwhiti providers will receive a combined total of $2.25 million to support 335 people.

  • Coxco Farming and Horticulture Ltd will receive $1.45 million to establish a training and employment programme to help 100 unemployed Tairāwhiti locals into employment either with Coxco or elsewhere in the local industry.
  • Tairāwhiti CARE will receive $800,000 to help local Tairāwhiti employers build effective employment practices to help an estimated 235 local people into sustainable employment.


Three Northland projects will be able to help up to 75 people with combined funding of $2.2 million.

  • The KiwiRail prison programme will receive $640,000 for a programme to train and integrate around 20 prisoners back into the community through support, training, mentoring and manaaki tangata, plus support from their whānau, hapu and iwi.
  • Taimahi Trust will receive a grant of $970,000 over two years for its Can-do Catering programme which will support 30 people aged 18-25 with intellectual disabilities and/or high social needs into employment in horticulture, hospitality and social care.
  • Up to 25 people will receive collision repair training through an investment of $590,240 to Smart Trade Solutions Ltd, an industry training provider.


A combined total of $1.14 million to support up to 65 people will go to two projects in Waikato.

  • Mahi Tika – Equity in employment, managed by the Disabled Persons' Assembly NZ will work to break down barriers to employment for the disabled community and place up to 25 people into suitable employment.
  • Te Wānanga o Aotearoa will receive $894,044 to set up and run a work-readiness programme for around 40 people in South Waikato who have been displaced as a result of COVID-19 or who are not in employment, education or training. The programme will help them take up work opportunities in the construction or primary industries.

Hawke’s Bay

Two projects in Hawke’s Bay will receive a combined total of $450,000 to help up to 92 people.

  • Driver CPC Ltd will receive $188,750 for its Whiti project to provide forklift training by virtual reality to up to 80 people who have been displaced by Covid-19 or who are unemployed.
  • Te Wai Mauri will receive $260,693 to employ 12 unemployed people to complete riparian planting and other water conservation projects. Te Wai Mauri plans to train a contracting team able to compete commercially for projects.


Three projects in the Manawatū-Whanganui region will receive a combined total of $2.5 million to help up to 680 people.

  • The Pūhoro STEM Academy will receive $975,000 for its programme which supports Māori to enter study and careers in the science, technology, engineering and maths sectors. Funding over two years will provide 250 participants with training and help place 50 rangatahi into internships, apprenticeships or cadetships.
  • The Wai Ora Christian Community Trust will receive $800,000 for its E Tu Tangata programme which provides employment and trade training. It will work with around 30 people and focus on those who face multiple barriers to employment.
  • Te Awa Nui a Rua will receive $752,990 over three years for its Taumarunui Primary Education and Employment Campus programme, which offers practical industry training and pathways to employment. It will reach more than 400 people.