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Employment Policy Promotes “Zero Waste Of People”

12 July 2002

Alliance Employment Policy Promotes “Zero Waste Of People”

Alliance leader Laila Harré launched an employment policy in Dunedin today that pledges to restructure Treasury and reorient the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy to ensure that full employment is a key economic goal.

“The Alliance completely rejects the notion that unemployment is in any way natural or a necessary evil of economic equilibrium,” she said.

“We believe that the long term goal of full, sustainable employment will only be possible if we change our macro economic policy to one that rejects outright unemployment and exposes it for what it is – a social ill that strips people of their self worth and excludes them from full participation in society.”

The Alliance will also promote planned and coordinated transitions for young people from school to employment or further education, and targeted programmes for communities and groups of New Zealanders that have a tendency towards long-term unemployment.

“Unemployment occurs because the government tolerates it. In government, the Alliance will promote the flip side of this coin by playing an active role in matching people to jobs, job creation and the promotion of economic growth,” Laila Harré said.

“New Zealand can’t afford to have a large number of people cut off from full economic participation. The Alliance sees the regions as the key to growth, and this employment policy is designed to strengthen these areas, enabling us to tap the full potential of our country’s human resources.”


Policy 2002: Towards full employment

Introduction

Unemployment occurs because the government tolerates it. The Alliance believes that full employment is essential in a modern thriving democracy. We reject the idea that unemployment is somehow natural, or the result of economic equilibrium. Policies designed to foster full sustainable employment are a top priority for the Alliance.

The Alliance believes the government must play an active role in alleviating unemployment and job creation by:

 developing local economies;
 making employment policies work for Maori and Pacific Islands people;
 creating economic independence and a flourishing domestic economy;
 recognising the changing nature and role of work.

Long-term, sustainable employment is only possible if we change our macro economic policy. The Alliance will restructure Treasury and reorient the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy to ensure that full employment is a key economic goal.

The Issues

 For too many young people, exiting from school is not a planned process. All young people, leaving school should be enabled to make decisions about their education and employment future.

 Employees should be equipped with the mix of skills required to participate in a rapidly changing economy and job market. Our current workforce needs upskilling, especially in areas that are currently low-skilled occupations.

 Whilst unemployment has dropped in New Zealand over the last 3 years, some regions, communities and particular groups of people remain unfairly at risk of unemployment and its effects – poor housing, major health needs and poverty. The figures for long-term unemployed remain unacceptably high.

The Goals

 No young person should go ‘nowhere’ upon leaving school. The Alliance believes that all young people should move from school into further education, training or employment. The role of the current career services will be expanded into a Transition and Career Service with the lead responsibility for ensuring that young people are supported into positive activities.

 The Alliance will demonstrate that vocational and trades employment is seen as valued by the development of training and upskilling programmes at all levels.

 The Alliance aims to permanently reduce the number of long term unemployed by giving them the skills required to move them into permanent unsubsidised public or private sector employment. We will take the best elements of PEP and combine them with new ideas in workplace training to address the issue of long-term unemployment.

Policy 2002: Employment

Youth Transitions: A positive destination for all young people

The Issues

 For far too many young people, exiting from school is not a planned process. Instead, it is one about leaving a system where learning is primarily academic and that has often left them with feelings of failure.

 For some young people, families and peers are able to guide them into education, training or employment, supporting them as they gain confidence in the ‘adult’ world. But for many, there is no clear support to help them find a pathway that will lead them to success in their adult working lives. In many of the regions as many as one-third of young school leavers – regardless of their school qualifications – currently go nowhere upon leaving school. With the lack of a nationally co-ordinated database on school dropouts, suspensions and expulsions, those working with the failures of the school system face an uphill battle to trace and assist these young people.

 Services to assist young people to make the transition from school to work are disjointed and uncoordinated so many young people slip through the cracks, only rejoining the system when they are eligible for unemployment benefit at age 18, by which time bad habits may have set in.

The Goals

 The Alliance will expand the role of the current Career Service into a Transition and Career Service with the lead responsibility for ensuring that young people are pathwayed into positive activities, instead of continuing the current haphazard approach to assistance for school leavers. This will be well resourced.

 The current youth support trials that offer individual assistance to early and at-risk school leavers will be extended. The Alliance will identify ways in which at-risk students enrolled at Correspondence School can be provided with face-to-face support and mentoring.

 A government-managed national database of early school leavers, truants and expulsions will be re-established to stop young people from slipping through the cracks.

 Every student leaving school will have a consistent planned exit and pathway plan incorporating further learning and career steps. This will form the basis of a cumulative portfolio of assessment, progress and achievement through the lifetime learning process.

 By 2005 every young person up to the age of 18 will be engaged in education, training or work.
.

Policy 2002: Employment

Upskilling the workforce

The Issues
 The Alliance believes that we cannot build the so called ‘knowledge society’ without significant investment in the country’s infrastructure. The working skills of New Zealanders are part of that infrastructure.

 The Alliance agrees with the need to encourage people to plan for careers in high-tech jobs, but there is a need to ensure that vocational and trades employment is seen as equally valued.

 To that end, we need to upskill our current workforce, especially in those areas that are currently low-skilled occupations, to ensure that employees are equipped with the mix of skills required to participate long term in a rapidly changing economy and job market. The country needs to get out and stay out of the present skills-gap.

 The Alliance wants to ensure that young people see a vocational training pathway and an academic pathway as being equally valid.

 Young people are more mobile in their employment and living arrangements than previously and training provision should take account of this.

 Young women and Pacific Islands young people are under-represented in the industries currently involved in the Modern Apprenticeship Programme. Consideration should be given to developing training schemes relevant to these groups.

The Goals

 The Alliance will initiate a comprehensive marketing campaign, ‘Trades Training Transformed’, to demonstrate the breadth and value of vocational training and employment. This will be done in conjunction with the relevant industry sectors such as agriculture, engineering, building and carpentry.

 The non-completion rate for present qualifications is unacceptably high. The Alliance will initiate and fund research into the reasons for this, paying particular attention to the quality of the training and of the qualifications and the emphasis Industry Training Organisations place on ensuring completion of qualifications.

 The Alliance will broaden the range of industries involved in the Modern Apprenticeship Programme. It will increase the number of young people registered to 10000 by year 2005.

 The Alliance will institute Youth Traineeships that will enable young people to gain smaller ‘chunks’ of qualifications than the 2-3 year equivalent of Modern Apprenticeships. This will ensure that young people working in casual and mobile employment can still gain nationally recognised skills.

 The Alliance will establish training programmes for the development of ‘cross-skilling’ for workers in skills shortage areas.

 Through our Regional Development programme, we will support training in those parts of New Zealand where skills shortages are impeding economic growth and development.

 The Alliance will address the problem of low literacy levels amongst workers, one of the biggest challenges to increased productivity and therefore profitability, by providing seeding funding to companies with 50+ workers for the establishment of ‘learning centres’ within their workplaces.
Policy 2002: Employment

Ending the scourge of long-term unemployment

The figures for long-term unemployed (more than 26 weeks) remain unacceptably high. If New Zealand is to move forward we need to ensure that all our people have the opportunity to reach and use their potential. We cannot afford to have a large number of people, and by implication, their families and in some cases whole communities, effectively cut off from participating in the economy. Development in our regions particularly will be uneven and limited until we can tap the full potential of all our country’s human resources.

The Alliance aims to permanently reduce the number of long-term unemployed by giving them the skills required to move them into permanent unsubsidised private sector employment.

Zero Waste of People (ZWOP)

The Alliance will take the best elements of PEP and combine them with new ideas in workplace training to address the issue of long-term unemployment. The project will be led by Skill NZ/TEC but will be developed as a whole-of-government response to long-term unemployment.

‘Front-ending’ of funds to ensure that people enter the workforce do so with the skills required by employers is a better investment of resources than meeting the costs incurred by employers who take on people who lack the appropriate skills and who cannot be sustained in employment once the subsidy runs out. So funding for the ZWOP project will come substantially through a re-allocation of the job subsidy funding paid to employers who take on long term unemployed people.

ZWOP will initially in those regions that are particularly affected by long-term unemployment, such as Northland, East Coast and the Bay of Plenty. Apart from initial establishment costs such as equipment, costs will be met primarily by a reallocation of existing funding from within Skill NZ/TECs training programmes and MSD (WINZ). Further support funding will be reallocated from other government departments.

The new scheme is a community based employment project. For each person signed up it will last for up to 12 months. During this time they will receive training in vocational areas of their choice, assistance to deal with any practical, social or individual issues (including literacy counselling, health-related services) as well as structured private sector workplace training that relates to the career or occupation they are aiming to move into when they leave the project.

The project will work in conjunction with local and regional councils and regional development agencies on public works projects that would otherwise not occur (thus no displacement).

A mentor will assist with finding permanent employment and will continue to support the new employee and the employer for 3-6 months after gaining private sector employment. The mentor will assist the employee to continue their training whilst in employment.

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