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Cyber Communities ‘Jobs Jolt’ programme a win-win

2 April 2004 Media Statement

Cyber Communities ‘Jobs Jolt’ programme a win-win

A new employment partnership with community sector organisations targeting job seekers needing to improve their information and communications technology (ICT) skills was launched today.

Cyber Communities, one of the Jobs Jolt package of initiatives announced last year to tackle skill shortages and get more New Zealanders into work, was launched in Otara today by Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis.

Cyber Communities will provide ICT training to long-term unemployed and disadvantaged people while they work with community organisations on ICT projects. Job seekers can then use their newly gained skills when they seek permanent paid work. The $2.5 million three-year Cyber Communities pilot will initially be run in Southland, Tokoroa and Otara and aims to assist 420 job seekers into permanent paid work.

Acting Social Development and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson said the pilot programme builds on the government’s community ICT strategy to achieve a win-win for job seekers and community-based organisations.

“People on the unemployment benefit will be able to learn ICT skills, develop good work habits and contribute to their communities through the Cyber Communities programme.

“ICT skills are now required in our everyday working and personal lives. The ICT workforce has also been growing strongly, increasing by 54 per cent between 1999 and 2001. The Cyber Communities pilot will actively assist job seekers to get tooled up for these realities.

“The Department of Labour’s Community Employment Group will coordinate the Cyber Communities programme and will employ a local learning broker and community networker in each pilot area. They will be responsible for identifying community groups needing ICT support and a database of local technical mentors who can assist the job seekers with the project they are working on for the group.

“As an example of how Cyber Communities will work in practice let’s look at the hypothetical case of a young unemployed man in Tokoroa who’s been unemployed for 12 months. He plays for his local rugby club. His club needs a database and an email

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list created. The Cyber Communities learning broker would match him with a technical mentor to help him gain skills necessary to complete the task. The mentor might also help with learning another programme, say to create a poster or spreadsheet for the club. The result is the rugby club gets an ICT project completed which would otherwise have gone undone – and the job seeker now has with computer and technology skills and is better able to find a permanent paid job.

“The criteria for registering with Cyber Communities is that the job seeker has resided in one of the pilot communities and has been unemployed for six months or longer. Consideration will also be given to those disadvantaged in the labour force. The learning brokers and community networkers will be working closely with Work and Income, social service and community organisations to identify and attract eligible candidates for the programme.

“As with the other Jobs Jolt initiatives, Cyber Communities will be evaluated so we can consider how to take the concept to other New Zealand communities,” Ruth Dyson said.


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