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Porirua youth to get a better chance at jobs

Porirua youth to get a better chance at jobs

Better employment prospects for 15-24 year olds is the focus of a regional scheme to be piloted in Porirua announced today by the Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton and Social Services and Employment Minister, Steve Maharey.

The Porirua pilot and another one in Waitakere have received a total of $400,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development as part of a whole-of-government drive to improve the transition of young people from school into quality employment.

The pilots are designed to match training and skill development with employment opportunities for young job seekers and involve central and local government, schools, businesses and the wider communities within the pilot areas.

Jim Anderton says employment for young people is essential for their individual development and also for our economy. “We need to see young people in challenging jobs that build their talents and skills, to ensure that they are feel valued and can contribute to the community. This is essential for our economy, particularly at a time when regions and businesses throughout the country are facing skill shortages. Youth unemployment is unacceptably high at 11 per cent and we are committed to action.

Social Services and Employment Minister, Steve Maharey, welcomed the knowledge and expertise of government social and economic agencies combined with the on-the-ground experience of the local organisations. “Both pilots are closely tailored to meet the specific needs of the local communities and the delivery agents, Partners Porirua and Enterprise Waitakere, and their local collaborators can be congratulated for this,” Steve Maharey said.

Chairman of Partners Porirua, Dr Allan Nichols, said that, “We are aware of a number of growing opportunities for young people to secure quality employment in the Porirua area and this pilot will focus on making sure young people are aware of these and are able to get the necessary skills.” Dr Nichols also said that, “Partners Porirua is well placed to co-ordinate this pilot because of its existing relationships with local businesses and schools.”

The two pilots will be evaluated to ensure lessons from them are available for the benefit of all regions.

The Waitakere and Porirua projects will contribute to achieving the government's goal of ensuring all 15-19 year olds are engaged in appropriate education, training, work by 2007. Further information on this Youth Transitions project is attached.

Youth Transitions project

According to Census 2001, there are approximately 265,000 young people aged 15-19 in New Zealand. Of that cohort, it is estimated that, at any point in time, between 27,000 and 45,000 (or 10-17%) young people are not participating in formal education, training or work.

Difficulties in making transitions are often related to social, economic and health problems in earlier life. Among other things, poverty, poor parenting, drug and alcohol problems, criminal offending, abuse, poor health, pregnancy, and severe behavioural problems are risk factors for transition difficulties. We do not yet fully understand, however, the precise ways in which such risk factors relate to adverse outcomes.

Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs

In October 2002, the government signed a revised Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, outlining the process by which central government and the Taskforce will co-operate towards the achievement of the shared goal, that “by 2007, all 15-19 year olds will be engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other options which will lead to long term economic independence and well-being”.

A work programme has been agreed to achieve this goal consisting of three strands: improving our understanding of youth transitions to better direct future investments; identifying initial priorities and a course of action to make measurable progress in the identified priority areas. The two initial priorities identified are raising skills and qualifications, and improving sustainable employment outcomes; and work towards achieving a coherent transition system, including better co-ordination of services for young people at risk, and alignment of services, institutions, agencies, and policy frameworks.

The Government has sought further advice on the dynamics of youth transitions. A report back is due to Cabinet in July, intended to inform the Budget process in 2004, with further report backs to Cabinet due until 2007.

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