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Milestone for Mayors Taskforce

One of the first job placements of South Wairarapa District Council’s Community Recovery Programme, with a working dog, supplied through the programme. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs [MTFJ] celebrated a milestone last week after the 500th person was placed into employment through its Community Recovery Programme.

The programme began in June 2020 with a four-council pilot, including South Wairarapa District Council, but extended to 23 rural councils across the country, including Carterton District Council, and Tararua District Council.

Masterton District Council did not participate in the programme as funding was aimed at rural councils with populations of 20,000 or less.

Councils partnered the Ministry of Social Development and industry to place 1150 young people and covid-19 displaced workers in sustainable employment pathways by June 30, 2021.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the Community Recovery Programme had produced excellent results.

“It’s a fantastic example of a locally-led solution delivering for young people in the community,” Sepuloni said.

Councils involved could access up to $500,000 of funding from a pool of $11.6 million.

The programme had placed 38 South Wairarapa unemployed young people in full-time employment since July 2020, with an additional 32 people placed in the three months prior, during the pilot programme.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said that the programme was just maturing as the council increased its capability. The council had only drawn the first $250,000 of the total funding, with funds remaining for about 15 more placements.

Funds had been spent on training, upskilling, and equipping young people as roles became available.

The council had engaged the Wairarapa Whanau Trust to administer youth liaison, with a part-time employer liaison beginning in January.

Some of the support for apprenticeships came in the form of tools and training before starting work.

Funding transport would also likely be a component of the programme in the future, Beijen said.

Fifteen people had been employed in Carterton, with four more placements pending this week.

Most of the placements were apprenticeships, with all employees signing permanent contracts of more than 30 hours a week.

“We have received fantastic support from local employers who are eager to help out Wairarapa youth with employment or apprenticeships,” Carterton Mayor Greg Lang said.

CDC used the money in various ways, from career and employee assessments using diagnostic tools to interview preparation and CV development.

Some of the funding also went towards developing employability skills like communication, resilience, problem-solving, self-management and teamwork.

“The funding is there to be flexible and to remove the barriers facing individuals when progressing into employment,” MTFJ taskforce co-ordinator Noa Woolloff said.

“This could look like a wage subsidy for the employer to take on somebody that is NEET [not in education, employment, or training], the purchasing of work-related equipment … or training costs including driver licensing testing, wheels tracks and rollers, health and safety, etc.”

Once CDC had achieved its target of placing 25 young people into jobs by June 30, it could apply for the second tranche of funding.

“We would love to hear from any youth in our region who aren’t in employment, education, or training to see how we can support them,” Lang said.

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