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Mayor Says Poverty Report Outstanding

MAYOR SAYS POVERTY REPORT OUTSTANDING

Christchurch's Mayor Garry Moore says a City Council-sponsored report on employment is outstanding and links local results with international research.

Mr. Moore welcomed the report because he believes that employment or paid work is the key to eliminating poverty. "Being in work says so much about a person's dignity and a place in society. Poverty in monetary sense is also a poverty of spirit," Mr. Moore said.

"The City Council's role now is to bring together employers, trade unions and other interested groups to find the next step forward to address problem related to employment and problems outlined in the report, " Mr. Moore said.

Early this year there was widespread concern that a shortage of qualified and experienced workers was restricting employment and business growth in Christchurch.

The Taskforce on Poverty responded to the concern by commissioning a research project to measure the extent and nature of the shortage. The report was prepared by a team of researchers at the University of Canterbury, Dr Paul Dalziel (who is a member of the Taskforce), Dr Jane Higgins and Michael Drummond.

Dr Dalziel says the core findings of the report are:
* that unemployed workers are applying for jobs even when they do not have the required qualifications and experience.
* that while qualifications are important for many jobs, experience is seen more important. * that employers are finding it difficult to find suitably qualified employees, particularly in the skilled trades. The report also comments on how central and local government might encourage a beneficial spiral of rising incomes and prosperity, paying particular attention to how it can help develop and maintain a skilled and experienced workforce.
* Fostering a well-qualified workforce begins early: social investment in quality early childhood education is particularly important
* Likewise, social investment in low-income suburbs, particularly in relation to education, is important for enabling young people to achieve their education potential. Engagement with these communities, their schools and organisations is vital for exploring the best ways in which such social investment can be made.
* Incentives to employers of taking on and training people should be explored.
* Employment assistance programmes appear to be most effective when they have strong links to actual workplace.

The report was tabled at the Council's Community Services Committee on Monday 7 May. .

Further information: Dr Paul Dalziel: 364 2134.

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