Sport Being Used To Upskill People On Community Wage

  • Peter McCardle
Associate Minister of Social Services, Work and Income (Work and Income)

Successful Auckland trust shows the way

Associate Work and Income Minister Peter McCardle today visited an Auckland sports training organisation which has this year helped 400 young unemployed people to get valuable work skills - and many into paid jobs. Mr McCardle anticipates that in future large numbers of people on the Community Wage around the country will be learning sports coaching in programmes run by similar organisations, including sports trusts.

"Young New Zealanders love their sport, and that includes the young unemployed. Sporting organisations running Community Work programmes give people with little work experience the chance to learn valuable work skills, and to help schools at the same time. There are clear benefits for both," Mr McCardle said.

"Schools get help to coach their pupils in sports and in other activities. The jobseekers gain valuable work experience and coaching skills, job hunting skills, self confidence and self esteem, and all the other benefits of group participation such as social contact and camaraderie."

Auckland-based Sport Education New Zealand is a charitable trust that has the support of the Auckland Rugby Union and many other sporting organisations because its programmes are successful. Coaching directors from the Rugby Union are used for coaching.

SENZ has been using sport as one means of upskilling the unemployed, but there are plans to expand into music and arts programmes next year, because those are also areas of great interest to young people.

Mr McCardle said, "The feedback I am getting is that the young unemployed love learning sports coaching, and the pupils they help are right behind it too. Their schools would otherwise have no one to coach them as there aren't the staff available for coaching or many other school activities such as culture groups.

"The programme is also getting people into paid jobs after being upskilled. Sport Education has a high success rate - this year 80 per cent of people taking part have gone into paid jobs or further training ("staircasing") thanks to the skills and experience they picked up while on the programme. "What Sport Education New Zealand has achieved is marvellous. It is just one example of the diverse and imaginative ways jobseekers will be helped to get out of the rut of long-term unemployment by Community Work projects," Mr McCardle said.