8 August 2011
Training to Get Young People Work Ready Now Even More Difficult
The decision by the Tertiary Education Commission to cut funding by 14 per cent for the 2011/2012 has made the job of training mostly young people to be work ready a great deal more difficult, according to the YMCA.
The YMCA has been delivering TEC funded education services throughout New Zealand for many years and overall, has consistently met or exceeded the required outcomes, including placing students into employment. It is currently allocated about 500 student places annually but provides education and training opportunities to almost 1,500 New Zealanders – most of whom are aged between 15 and 24.
The latest cuts - imposed without consultation and after a protracted funding freeze - puts the future viability of some of the YMCAs programmes into question.
“We have made all the savings we can” says Ric Odom, National Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA. “Our staff are remarkable people, dedicated to their work and committed to their students. They are more than tutors; they are mentors, supporters, counsellors and friends but each year, the resources they have to work with are further squeezed. Under the latest offer, we will receive $370,000 less in funding and that is going to present us with even greater challenges”.
These cuts come on top of a reduction in the length of some of the courses. Many of them are now only being funded for 40 weeks or less. Costs continue to rise but the funding being provided is now being reduced. Mr Odom acknowledges that these are tough times for everyone but points out that the programmes the YMCA delivers are achieving results. The YMCA remains committed to helping young people and this includes assisting them into employment through education and training. Like other community providers, however, the current funding regime makes the YMCA’s work difficult to sustain.
“The tragedy is that at a time when youth unemployment remains high, fewer of these young people will be able to access the types of training and education opportunities we offer,” says Mr Odom. “Community organisations like the YMCA already provide exceptional value for money. We are motivated not by profit, but by a commitment to New Zealanders. Even so, we cannot fund these programmes ourselves and nor should we be expected to.”