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High unemployment drives teen to transform his district

Media Release: Thursday 15 November 2018

High unemployment drives teen to transform his district

The hard work and dedication of an emerging young leader in Horowhenua has paid off after his project was supported by the Provincial Growth Fund today.

Regional Economic Development Minister Hon. Shane Jones announced the application was successful at an event in Feilding today, along with a number of announcements for other projects totalling $48 million for the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

18 year-old Liam McLeavey wrote the application with the support of Horowhenua District Council.

“I’ve been working on this for many months. But to have it publicly announced today was amazing,” said Mr McLeavey. “I’ve got an exam tomorrow – how am I going to concentrate on that!”

The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $50,000 to Horowhenua District Council for a feasibility study of the type and form of investment needed to support better education and employment outcomes for young people in Horowhenua.

“The project is aligned to Horowhenua District Council’s increasing focus on successful transition to employment through its Horowhenua 2040 vision,” said Mr McLeavey.

“Our unemployment rate is staggeringly high – our NEET rate, which is disengaged young people from education, training and employment, is 19.4%.

Mr McLeavey said Horowhenua has a growing job market that is diverse – we need to ensure our people are work ready and able to take up the opportunity.

Horowhenua Mayor Michael Feyen congratulated Liam on his success.

“Liam’s dedication and ambition to help and improve the lives of people here in Horowhenua is a fantastic example of what an individual can achieve no matter what their age.”

Mayor Feyen said this is the first time the Provincial Growth Fund has funded a project in Horowhenua and, while smaller in comparison to the announcements made for elsewhere in the region, it is incredibly valuable.

“Our employment rate is one of the lowest in Aotearoa, so it’s pleasing to see the government recognise Liam’s potential and his ability to work with others to improve the lives of others.”

“We have many more irons in the pot and I hope to see many more announcements in the years ahead,” said Mayor Feyen.

Liam McLeavey is a former Waiopehu College student and is on the Minister of Education’s Ministerial Advisory Group. Liam was a previous chair of Horowhenua Youth Council as well as a previously being a Student Trustee on the Waiopehu College Board of Trustees.


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