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Attracting And Keeping Skilled Staff

Hon Ruth Dyson Minister of Labour

Attracting And Keeping Skilled Staff

Courses to help businesses attract and keep skilled staff are among projects to be funded by the government's Employment Relations Education Contestable Fund this financial year, Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson announced today.

"The Labour-led government is committed to economic transformation through improving workplace relations and health and safety. Empowering employers, employees and their representative organisations to achieve these goals will lead to productivity gains, which benefit everyone.

"Increasing productivity isn't about working longer hours ? it's about innovating, increasing the value of every hour worked, and transforming our economy by creating more interesting and satisfying jobs," Ruth Dyson said.

"Making workplaces more attractive for employees is particularly important in the current labour market, with skill shortages and low unemployment forecast to continue in the longer term."

Just over $2 million has been allocated from the fund to 20 projects for 2006/07, including:

• $550,000 to Business New Zealand for courses to help small enterprises attract and retain skilled staff and improve workplace relationships; and to provide employers with health and safety start-up knowledge.

• $54,000 to the Registered Master Builders Federation to teach industry employers about minimum employment conditions.

• $52,000 for a joint project between the Otago Southland Employers' Association and Amalgamated Workers' Union Southern to train employers in employment relations to attract and keep staff.

• $48,500 to Land Based Training for health and safety courses for small businesses and workplaces with minimal union involvement including the farming, forestry cultivation (silviculture), road construction and transport sectors.

• $57,000 to the financial sector union Finsec for a range of education projects including organising, collective bargaining, good faith and advocacy.

• $22,000 to the Amalgamated Workers Union Southern to develop skills in negotiating and dealing with workplace discrimination.

• Funding for projects to increase the involvement of Maori and Pacific Island groups in employment relations and advocacy work. This includes $115,000 to the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) to develop resources to improve the skill levels of Maori in the workforce.

Background

An advisory committee considers applications to the Employment Relations Education Contestable Fund each year and makes recommendations to the Minister of Labour.

The committee has an independent chair, three members representing union interests; three representing employer interests; two from the education sector; one providing a Maori perspective and one providing a Pacific peoples' perspective.

For the full list of 2006/07 fund recipients, go to the Department of Labour website at www.dol.ers.govt.nz

Ends

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