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Regional job fund projects announced

18 October 2001 Media Statement

Regional job fund projects announced

New employment projects to support beneficiaries to move into the paid workforce were announced by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today.

The twelve regional programmes, which will operate from Whangarei in the north to Dunedin in the south, are the first to be funded from the Transition to Work Contestable Fund established in the budget. Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioners were asked to develop programmes which remove barriers keeping beneficiaries from moving into work or remaining in employment.

Steve Maharey said the projects are concrete examples of the Government’s Making Work Pay strategy to ensure that beneficiaries are always be better off getting a job and staying in it.

“The best form of welfare is a secure well-paying job. We have refocused Work and Income away from the make-work schemes of the past to actively addressing the factors which mean some beneficiaries cannot afford to move off welfare and into paid employment.

“There are more New Zealanders in paid work that at any time in our history. We have achieved a 16.5% reduction in those receiving the unemployment benefit since September 1999, but too many people are still without the security of work.

“Some excellent projects have been developed across the country which target the barriers to work which beneficiaries are facing in their communities. Examples include:

- in Northland accomodation and relocation assistance will be provided to unemployed job seekers prepared to relocate from the Far North to Whangarei to work in the luxury yacht industry;

- in South Auckland targeted financial assistance will be provided to address the particular problems which have led some domestic purposes beneficiaries to move on and off the unemployment register; and,

- on the East Coast up to 650 beneficiaries will be assisted with literacy, numeracy and life-style coashing to move into employment with Heniz Wattie.

. . / 2

“We are investing $1.183m this financial year on the twelve projects. A further sum has been set aside for partnership projects under discussion with Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs.

“An evaluation will be carried out on each of the twelve projects and it is hoped that successful examples can be progressively expanded nationwide,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

Details of the projects are attached.

Transition to Work Contestable Fund projects, 2001/02

Region/Initiative Description

Northland

Boat-building Training Accommodation Initiative

$189,705 (plus GST) Provides accommodation and relocation assistance to DWI clients who are prepared to relocate from the far north of the region to Whangarei for the purpose of securing work in the developing luxury yacht industry.

The initiative will provide assistance for no less than 30 participants, and will be principally aimed at long term unemployed Maori clients.

The training will be run by Northland Polytechnic in association with NZ Super Yachts Limited.

Auckland North

Assistance for Migrant Professionals

$115,920 (plus GST)

Targets migrant engineers and provides:

(a) a financial incentive to Auckland firms to provide work experience to migrant clients, and

(b) a small participation allowance to no less than 40 clients over a period of 13 weeks.

It is envisaged that this initiative will be of value in two ways:

(a) The provision of NZ work experience to migrant clients

(b) The showcasing of this client group’s talents to prospective employers who otherwise might be reluctant to employ migrant workers.

Auckland South

In Work Transition Support for DPB Clients

$128,000 (plus GST) Provides targeted financial assistance to no less than 100 DPB clients who have re-registered in the past 12 months due to the financial cost of transitioning into work. This initiative aims to provide a financial buffer to ensure these clients have every opportunity to move into sustained employment.

Waikato

Small Business Securitisation Fund

$50,000 (no GST) This initiative has been developed with the Hamilton City Council and WestpacTrust. HCC and DWI will each put $50,000 into a Trust that will provide security to individuals who want to start their own businesses, but are unable to secure commercial loans due to a lack of security. DWI’s contribution will be available exclusively for DWI clients wishing to establish small businesses, and the Trust will secure up to $5,000 of commercial lending per client.

Bay of Plenty

Moving Forward

$75,733 (plus GST) Assists clients who are unable to secure work due to drug or alcohol related problems. It is not aimed at those who have severe addictions and for whom treatment is available through the health system, but rather those that might have a recreational habit that creates a barrier to employment. This initiative will offer a series of modules to 75 clients through a private provider. Each programme will run for 4 weeks in 4 towns.

East Coast (2 projects)

Heinz Watties projects

$114,900 (plus GST)

Heinz Watties is the East Coast’s largest employer. To satisfy various health and safety requirements, each employee is required to have a basic level of literacy, numeracy, and physical fitness to work within the company. Some DWI clients do not pass the pre-entry employment test, and consequently are unable to secure employment with the company.

This initiative aims to address this by providing a range of coaching to enable clients to move into employment with Heinz Watties. Up to 650 clients will be directly assisted by the various programmes to be run under this initiative.

Night Childcare and Transportation Initiative

$114,400 (plus GST) Processing at the Heinz Watties plants in the region occurs around the clock. This often presents employment opportunities for our clients during the nightshift, however poor transportation and the lack of available night-time childcare impedes some of our client’s ability to take on such opportunities.

The project will provide childcare and transportation assistance to no less than 30 clients allowing them to take part in the seasonal processing work in the region.

Taranaki (2 projects)

Mobility and Transport

$50,000 (plus GST)

This project has been developed to address the issue of rural isolation from key labour markets in the Taranaki region and provides transportation for newly placed clients between Marton and Wanganui, and Opunake and New Plymouth. The initiative will run for a defined period of time and will provide participants with a window of time during which they can secure their own transportation or relocate to where their employment is located.

The project will assist at least 25 people over an 8-month period.

First Job Programme

$54,970 (plus GST) This project will provide an intensive mix of industry and departmental assistance to youth, allowing them to move into sustainable employment in the region. It provides mentoring, on-the-job experience, in-work support, and learning support to at least 50 severely at risk youth in the region.

Wellington / Nelson / Southern

Employment and Scholarship Programme

$180,000 (plus GST) Aimed at youth about to leave school or having just left, who have been assessed as being at severe risk of becoming unemployed and remaining so. The project is based on a Canterbury private sector run model, and provides a mix of real paid work and financial assistance to undertake vocational training over a 12-month period.

The project will be run by the Employment Scholarship Trust, and will provide assistance to 10 youth in each region.

Nelson

Drug and Alcohol Programme

$30,000 (plus GST) Established for the same reasons as the Bay of Plenty initiative, with the Fishing industry being relatively vigilant in drug testing in the region. This pilot initiative will initially target 15 clients in Nelson city, and 15 clients in Blenheim.

Southern

Youth Grow

$80,000 (plus GST)

The project will fund a nursery to be established by Presbyterian Support Services in Dunedin. Opportunities will be provided within this nursery for no less than 16 participants, all of whom will be DWI youth clients who suffer psychological difficulties and thereby face significant barriers to employment.

While the initiative will provide real work opportunities, the experience provided to these young people will be broad and it is envisaged that it will allow them to move on to other employment opportunities in the future.


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