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Horowhenua 'One More Worker' Scheme

Horowhenua 'One More Worker' Scheme Shape Of The Future, Says Maharey


Horowhenua's successful One More Worker scheme exemplifies the type of grass-roots employment initiatives the Government wants to promote, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey re-launched the programme at an Otaki Beach ceremony this afternoon. The One More Worker programme, which was operated by Enterprise Horowhenua in partnership with the Department of Work and Income (DWI) during 1999, challenged employers in the Kapiti and Horowhenua districts to take on an additional employee. Mr Maharey an evaluation of the scheme, released today by DWI, showed that the scheme had created 126 new positions over its nine-month life and was now being replicated in other towns and cities across New Zealand.

"Growing the number of jobs in local communities is a central plank of the Government's strategy to revitalise regional economies.

"I am delighted that DWI's evaluation of the One More Worker scheme has proved what many have know for some time – that the programme has been an outstanding success.

"On the strength of the results achieved the Horowhenua Local Employment Co-ordination Group and DWI have decided to continue One More Worker into this financial year and it is spreading to other regions as well. Programmes will open in Taranaki and Wellington this year and Waitakere, Pukekohe and the Bay of Plenty regions are considering its potential in their communities.

"The simple message that One More Worker promotes is that local partnerships and community ownership of employment creation, with the active assistance of Government, creates real jobs," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

Speech Notes

'One More Worker' – Local People Delivering Local Employment Solutions

Steve Maharey Speech to mark the re-launch of the 'One More Worker' scheme, Horowhenua Local Employment Coordination Group. Byron's Restaurant, Otaki Beach.

Introduction

I am delighted to be here today at the relaunch of the 'one more worker' scheme in the Department of Work and Income's Central region. Today I am also releasing details of the evaluation of this project – an evaluation that demonstrates conclusively what those close to the project have known for some time – that it has been an outstanding success.

The logic of the one more worker scheme is a very simple one. Taking the Kapiti-Horowhenua area, we have approximately 3300 unemployed in the area, and we have approximately 4000 employers. If every one of those businesses were to take on one additional employee, then we have made a very significant dent in the problem.

In 1998 the Horowhenua LEC identified as a priority project the establishment of a district employment creation goal. What emerged was the concept of the 'one more worker' challenge. In essence this is about providing a 'one stop information shop' in the form of a Project Coordinator. This role involves being the key contact for employers, listening to their needs, providing information about the range of assistance available, and coordinating the inter-agency resources necessary to help business to do whatever is needed for them to hire one more worker.

The success of the Programme in achieving employment outcomes indicated it could be replicated in other regions. That being the case the Central region felt it would be useful to document key elements of the programme to assist other regions.

'One more worker' – the evaluation

The evaluation aimed to:

 Document key elements of the programme

 Identify the critical success factors and the elements that needed to be taken into account if this programme was to be replicated in other regions, and

 Describe the employment/training opportunities created

Let me focus on the second of these – the success factors. The evaluation identified 3 critical success factors

 A small budget to implement a marketing and public relations campaign

 The background, skills and professionalism of key project personnel

 Support and commitment from all sectors of the community

In terms of the marketing and public relations campaign the evaluation makes it clear that the campaign was successful in creating a ground swell of interest from all sectors of the community, and it provided the project with a high level of credibility based on the people and businesses supporting it.

The Project Director was important in establishing credibility with local businesses. He was also pivotal inasmuch as he was known to local businesses as an Iwi representative on the local LEC, he very successfully completed the administrative and marketing tasks associated with the campaign, he was critical in promoting and briefing the community, including local Members of Parliament and Mayors, and he was able to deal professionally and appropriately with employers and business managers.

In terms of support from the local community the figures speak for themselves.

As at 5 October 1999 of the 135 vacancies notified by employers, 81 or 60% were filled using one more worker processes.

As a community-owned initiative, the programme offered a realistic chance to achieve positive community benefits through the development of a community solution to meeting its own needs.

This resulted in support from all sectors of the community – most importantly the local business community, but also from education and training providers, local Mayors, and indeed local Members of Parliament.

The evaluation also identified other benefits of the programme:

 It provided a focus for all sectors of the community to support businesses and enterprise development

 It facilitated increased employment and training opportunities

 It contributed to an increased understanding of employers needs, and

 It contributed to an enhanced and improved perception of the Department of Work and Income

The one more worker concept has proved to be such a success that it has now been adopted by two other regions – Taranaki and Wellington.

Today marks the re-launching of the programme in this, the Central Region, and I am delighted to be here today to help mark this important milestone for the community, for the LEC, and for the Department.

This initiative has all the hallmarks of what I believe will increasingly be characteristic of successful labour market interventions – local ownership and partnership:

 It is an initiative driven out of and owned by the local community – the problem identification is local, the solutions are locally determined, and the solutions are monitored and evaluated on a local basis

 It is an initiative that is based on the principle of partnership – partnership between a key central government department, Work and Income, Maori organisations, local government, the local business community, local education and training providers, and other community stakeholders

 It is a partnership that is based on an acceptance of responsibility – not the abrogation of responsibility. Devolution doesn't mean abrogation. It means finding new ways of working, new and innovative ways of ensuring that we have accountability for the expenditure of funds – whether central government, local government, or private sector – and a shared commitment to robust evaluation.

And standing behind these qualities and principles are the people who make things happen.

People like Tony Rush – the person who through his example and the commitment of Enterprise Horowhenua, has been the driving force behind this initiative.

People like your Regional Commissioner – Te Rehia Komene – who has lent the weight of her mana, and that of the Department to this initiative.

In very many respects the qualities and principles that have made the one more worker programme such a success are captured in the Local Employment Coordination mechanisms. Let me comment on the contribution of Local Employment Coordination Groups.
The genesis of LECs

In an immediate sense the genesis of the concept can be traced to the work of the Employment Taskforce. The Employment Taskforce (a group of officials and experts) was convened following the 1993 election by the then Prime Minister, Jim Bolger. At the same time a multi-party process, involving the Alliance, the Labour Party and the National Party was put in train, and a Multi-Party Group established.

I represented the Labour Party on that Multi-Party Group.

The Taskforce consulted widely with communities and presented a series of employment policy options. On November 30 1994 the Prime Ministerial Task Force on Employment presented its final report to the Prime Minister and members of the Multi-Party Group, and in June 1995 the Group published its response in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding.

One of the main themes that came through the Task Force's consultation was the need to identify and encourage local employment growth opportunities. Communities recognised their potential for job growth based on local resources and regional economic advantages.

The Taskforce, consequently, recommended that one (of nine) principles of future employment policy should be supporting the role of local communities to find local solutions to local problems and to fight unemployment at the local level.

At a practical level, the Taskforce recommended that the co-ordination of local employment initiatives, and responsiveness to the employment needs of local communities, needed to be improved.

The Multi-Party Group supported the intention of the Task Force to improve coordination and local responsiveness.

Initial Rational for Local Employment Committees

The Government of the day responded by developing a local employment co-ordination model, which involved the creation of local employment co-ordination groups and the appointment of local employment co-ordinators.

Local employment co-ordination groups (LECS) were to comprise of representatives from government agencies, local government, community groups, iwi and educational institutions. LECs were to be the focus at the local level for sharing information and ideas, discussing issues of concern and formulating strategies to assist organisations to work together to meet local employment needs.

The Cabinet minute establishing LECs stated that their role should be to achieve:

 Increased opportunities for unemployed people to training, education and work opportunities, with an emphasis on clients in the priority groups;
 Local ownership and resourcing of solutions;
 More effective co-ordination of government social service delivery to reduce the incidence of gaps, overlaps, conflicts and discrepancies; and
 A regular flow of information to client groups regarding the government’s strategic direction for social service delivery and the role of its agencies.

Since 1994

The Department of Labour established LECs in 1994.

By March 1999, 42 committees were operating throughout NZ, with total of 750 active members drawn from government agencies, local authorities, and community groups.

LECs have developed relatively autonomously and have developed different characteristics depending on their composition and the needs of the community.

Examples of projects initiated or backed by LECs include:

 Public forums and debates on employment issues;
 A work based training scheme for job seekers linked into the National Qualifications Framework. The scheme was trialed with a major employer and was then extended;
 Development of co-operative protocols between agencies dealing with the same clients;
 A street theatre project used as the basis for making the transition for long term unemployed into regular employment;
 A regional youth conference, which attracted several hundred young people and has led to the development of a number of youth focused initiatives;
 The development of seamless service strategies and the production of agency directories;
 A feasibility study about setting up a group apprenticeship scheme; and
 A school based project designed to inform students about the transition to the workplace.

An evaluation in January 1998 considered the performance of LECs against the objectives outlined for them in the Cabinet minute that established them. It was found that:


 some unemployed people had been placed in training, education and work as a result of LEC initiatives. However, most LECs had adopted a developmental role, so meaning that substantial increase in employment opportunities will not be visible for many years.

 all LECs involved in the evaluation demonstrated a local focus and were using local resources to solve local problems.

 all LECS were able to demonstrate more effective co-ordination of government services in their communities as result of their efforts.

 many voluntary and training agencies (client groups) welcomed the information they received from LECs about government policy and practice.

The evaluation found the most valuable benefit of LECs was the networking, and co-operation opportunities they provided – for example:

 Being able to keep in touch with developments in the government sector which, because of the amount of change occurring, was otherwise difficult to do;
 Being able to break down and challenge the assumptions and myths that prevail around the different organisations involved;
 Awareness was being raised and in some cases attitudinal changes were occurring through exposure to other viewpoints and realities;
 New relationships were forged that were helping individuals in their own jobs as well as spinning off into other activities (both LEC and non-LEC related);
 LECs helped to raise the level of debate in the community about important local issues; and
 LECs helped relationships develop between key government agencies in the community.

The Future – DWI regionalisation and the role of LECs

With the establishment of the Department of Work and Income and the introduction of Regional Commissioners came the opportunity to decentralise management of LECs to further enhance the local connections already established.

In mid 1999 Regional Commissioners became responsible for LECs in their regions. This was designed to increase responsiveness to the local community and local labour market needs and fitted with the role of the Regional Commissioners of working with the community to provide opportunities for clients to gain employment.

LECs provide Regional Commissioners with invaluable labour market information and more connections into the communities. Regional Commissioners have worked closely with their LECs to ensure that they continue to meet needs of the community. Some initiatives that have been undertaken in the past twelve months include:

 A joint project is underway to upgrade a community park in the Far North;

 LEC forum for working groups comprising of Refugees and Migrants, Maori, Pacific Island and Pakeha/NZ European;

 Developing a labour market profile tool to distribute to local authorities;

 The extension of the One More Worker campaign into the Taranaki;

 Investigating options in organic farming, zero waste, community garden concept and heavy truck on-the-job-training in Wanganui; and

 An Empowering Youth programme in Upper Hutt.

Conclusion

The Government has announced that it intends further regionalising service delivery within the Department of Work and Income. Towards the end of November I intend launching the Department's regionalisation framework and strategy.

It is my very strong view that LECs will continue to play an important role in DWI as the Regional Commissioners focus strongly on improving employment outcomes by working to develop local solutions in consultation with local business, education and training providers, and the wider community.

The one more worker project is an example of what can be achieved when we have a strong regional focus, and when we enter into partnerships – with the business community, with local government, and with providers.

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