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Council Funding New Employment Projects

Media release
9 October 2002

Council Funding New Employment Projects

Two new employment projects in Manukau have been given funding and support from Manukau City Council. The government is also putting money in as a result of a new partnership between councils and the government to find solutions to social problems.

The two new projects will help achieve the goal of having all 15 - 19 year olds in appropriate education, training, work or other options within five years. The goal was announced in the Beehive last week after talks between the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs and government ministers.

One of the projects focuses on job creation in Otara and the other is a research project to find out why many teenagers are falling through the cracks and failing to go into work, training or further education after leaving school.

The Council is putting $50,000 towards the Otara Work Co-operative, which aims to create employment for jobseekers under 25. It is hoped that amount will be matched dollar for dollar from another funding source, so the total funding will be $100,000.

The Co-operative acts as a kind of one-stop employment shop. It uses a team approach with members helping each other find work as well as create and manage new businesses.

The research is part of the Destinations and Tracking Project and the Council has given $35,000 towards it. It will track school leavers and find out why they don't go on to study or work, despite intending to do so. The project will monitor 9000 teenagers in six Manukau schools including Howick College and Manurewa High and interview them over a six-month period.

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The government's involvement has come about as part of its approach of working closely with local authorities and the Mayor's Taskforce For Jobs in order to reduce unemployment and promote regional economic development.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the new partnership is very welcome.

"It's the commitment we've needed. As a council we've been working for many years to promote job creation. However getting the commitment of the government, and money to go with it, simply wasn't there in the past.

"We have a big job ahead of us in Manukau as our unemployment rate continues to be higher than the national average while jobs go begging. Many local businesses can't find the skilled workers they need.

"Over the past year around 5,000 new jobs were created in Manukau but some of the unemployed are still struggling to get one because they don't have the skills and qualifications employers are looking for. Basically, too many young people are leaving school unqualified, and are not moving into further education or training to pick up those skills and qualifications. That's a complete dead end.

"The majority of our jobless people are from Maori or Pacific Island families. Without further training they'll get nowhere."

In Manukau over 21% of school leavers have no qualifications and a disproportionately high number are from a Maori or Pacific Island background. In the 2002 year the proportion of Maori students in Manukau leaving school with less than 12 level-one credits increased from 35% to 41%. The situation for Pacific Island students was similar - it rose from 22% to 29%. The figures are higher than the national average.

Sir Barry says, "These two new employment initiatives will target those young people and help give them the skills they need."


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