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Work and higher education package for young Pacific people

Work and higher education package for young Pacific people

FOUR agencies with track records in motivating, training and matching people to jobs will be working together in a new approach to sustainable employment and/or higher education for hundreds of young Pacific people in Auckland.

Starting early next year the four will collaborate to provide a service which identifies the needs of and best fit for each participant, then walks them through a tailored programme which includes literacy and numeracy training, communication and interview skills, career counselling and planning, coaching and support, and job, apprenticeship or higher education opportunities.

The Pacific Employment Support Services (PESS) project, implemented and managed by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, involves the C-Me Mentoring Foundation Trust, Crosspower Ministries Trust, In-Work New Zealand Ltd and SENZ Charitable Trust.

Nearly seven hundred Pacific 16 - 25-year-olds will benefit from these services over the next two years. The project is being funded with part ($2.3 million) of a $4.8 million allocation over four years, new funding announced in Budget 2010. This reflects Government’s priorities to lift incomes and living standards for Pacific people, with particular reference to Auckland.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to do this,” Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs chief executive Colin Tukuitonga says.

“Young Pacific people with few qualifications or skills don’t fare so well in a recession and recent unemployment figures bear this out. So having the funding to target some of these young people in a programme which helps get them to get higher education, jobs or, in some cases, better jobs is very good news.”

“It’s good not only for Pacific communities but for New Zealand. When you consider that one in every four babies born in Auckland now is of Pacific descent then clearly young Pacific people will make up more of the future workforce. Helping their employment prospects has to benefit us all.”

The PESS package was put together after a two-stage competitive process which initially drew interest from 27 providers. Nine of these were invited to put forward more detail, and the four involved in the scheme were then asked to build on their individual proposals and come up with a collaborative package.

“It’s taken a while to get here but given the money involved we wanted to make sure we ran a robust process, and secured the best possible value,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

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