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Partnerships help 500 people off benefits

23 March 2005

Industry partnerships help 500 people off benefits and into skilled work

Industry Partnerships helped more than 500 people off benefits and into skilled work in their first nine months of operation, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Speaking at the Regional Development Conference in Napier, Steve Maharey said the early success of Industry Partnerships showed the programme was responding well to the needs of industries facing skill shortages.

"To date 516 people involved in Industry Partnerships have moved off benefits and into skilled work," Steve Maharey said. "That's a great result for the people involved and the industries that are increasing their skilled labour supply."

Initial projections for Industry Partnerships set a goal of getting 45 per cent of participants off benefits within nine months. That goal has been surpassed and after nine months 60 per cent of participants have exited the benefit system.

"A 60 per cent exit rate is a credit to the hard work by Work and Income staff and the employers they are working with. It's also further evidence that people on benefits are eager to get the skills and experience that will allow them to achieve financial independence," Steve Maharey said.

"These are highly innovative programmes, which assist people into good jobs while addressing labour shortages at the same time. Key industries have recognised that they can work proactively with Work and Income to find the workers they need."

Industry partnerships have been established so far with the hospitality, roading, track maintenance (Transfield), bus and coach, retail, plumbing, national road carriers and meat industries.

ENDS

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