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Labour misses mark with Make Work Scheme

Tertiary Education Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says the Labour Party has completely missed the mark with its idea of marshalling young people into a new make work scheme.

"Labour has completely mis-read the current job market in New Zealand. The problem is not finding enough work for young people, it’s finding enough young people and skilling them up for the work that is already there.

"It makes no sense to have a make-work scheme competing with Kiwi businesses for young talent when the biggest concern of employers around the country right now is finding enough young people to fill the jobs available."

New Zealand already has the second highest employment rate in the OECD. As a country we added 33,000 jobs in the last quarter and the growth in jobs is expected to continue.

The numbers of 15-19 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) is currently 22,000. New Zealand has never had fewer than 21,000 15-19 year olds who are NEET. Meanwhile the annual 15-24 NEET rate is back down to pre-GFC levels.

"The challenge now is to get those NEET levels down further in a strong job market, and that means finding those young people and getting the help of their families and communities to get them into work,” Mr Joyce says.

That's why the government has introduced schemes like:

- Māori and Pasifika Trades Training

- The Ara Skills Hub

- Trades Academies

- Youth Guarantee

- Youth Services

The numbers of apprentices is also rising rapidly as the economy grows. There were more than 42,000 people enrolled in apprenticeships and apprenticeship training in 2015. This government plans to recruit another 5,500 apprentices.

"In regions right around New Zealand, like Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Otago, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury and Auckland employers are searching high and low for young people ready to work in their industries.

"Labour should join with the government in encouraging more young people into the work that is already there, not pretending we need make-work schemes when we clearly don't."

© Scoop Media

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