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All aboard the buses job partnership

25 November 2004 - Rick Barker

All aboard the buses job partnership

In Howick today launching a new job training partnership between Work and Income and the Bus and Coach Association, Minister responsible for Work and Income Rick Barker said the partnership will see around 110 unemployed people trained as bus drivers around the county by mid next year.

Rick Barker said the partnership responded to the needs of people requiring skills and jobs as well as industry driver shortages.

"The Bus and Coach Association says that at any one time it's short a hundred or so drivers. The Jobs Jolt training partnership 'Straight 2 Work' is part of the government's initiative to get Work and Income clients training in areas where there are sustainable jobs," he said.

"It's good news the Howick and Eastern Bus Company are on board with Straight to Work. The government is championing training programmes and getting people off benefits, while the company is committed to training new drivers.

"The approach of giving people a go in a new industry without requiring a fancy CV and loads of experience is a great approach. Looking outside the square when there are less people unemployed, will be a win-win situation as employers invest in new staff and Work and Income support them along the way," he said.

More than 310 employers are participating in the partnership, including urban, school and tour bus operators. The four-week training course will be run in Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, Taranaki and the East Coast.

The new partnership with the Bus and Coach industry is the latest in the government's Jobs Jolt package. It joins the hospitality, retail, roading, trucking and trades industries to provide unemployed people with entry level skills training.

Rick Barker added that he's received positive feedback from employer groups and unions about Straight to Work, with many other industry groups showing interest in setting up partnerships.

Participants will gain 20 NZQA credits towards a Class 2 driver licence. Once in work, they will develop a career plan that will enable them to continue their training through programmes such as Modern Apprenticeships. The NZQA recognised training will cover such topics as the Road Code, logbooks, driving skills and heavy rigid motor vehicle licensing.


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