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Canterbury employment remains high priority

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
Minister of Youth Affairs

8 August 2012

Canterbury employment remains high priority

In Christchurch today Social Development Minister Paula Bennett visited employers working alongside Work and Income to give New Zealanders jobs.

“Hawkins Construction and Fletcher Building have shown a real commitment to recruiting Cantabrians who’ve been relying on benefits,” says Mrs Bennett.

Today Fletcher Building announced a Work and Income manager will oversee recruitment of locals from the company headquarters while an on-site Work and Income work broker helps Hawkins Construction place people with their Canterbury based sub-contractors.

“Having dedicated Work and Income staff members working directly with these companies helps to ensure that rebuild job vacancies are made available to local job seekers,” says Mrs Bennett.

“This unprecedented move by Fletcher Building will also give Work and Income access to a vast array of work opportunities within this internationally recognised company,” she said.

Since August 2011, 60 Christchurch job seekers have been placed with Hawkins Construction and over the last nine months Fletcher Building has employed 26 local people who were on benefits. Four have been promoted to quantity surveyor administrator positions.

This approach illustrates a willingness from employers to provide jobs for local New Zealanders who want to get off welfare and into work.

“I can’t stress how valuable it is for people to come from a benefit into an environment which fosters career development and rewards talent and hard work,” says Mrs Bennett.

“I wish Fletcher Building’s four budding quantity surveyor administrators all the best in their new careers and I will be keeping an eye on their progress in the future,” she said.

Canterbury employment has remained a high priority for the Government with $214 million paid in wage subsidies to 8000 businesses supporting over 63,500 individuals since the September 2010 earthquake.

Other Government initiatives such as the Working InZone programme are also helping to prepare job seekers for work through roles in the earthquake clean-up and 25 people have been placed through Working InZone to date.

“Cantabrians have shown a willingness to roll up their sleeves and work despite a massive blow to the local economy and labour market,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Positive local attitudes and Government support have seen the number of people on Unemployment Benefits drop by more than 2,300 in Canterbury in the last year alone,” she said.

ENDS

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