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Employment training cuts = disaster for young people

Welfare reforms + employment training cuts = disaster for young people

The National-led Government's employment training cuts and youth welfare reforms are a disastrous mix for New Zealand's young people as these policies do nothing to address the country's high rates of youth unemployment, says the PSA.

Following cuts of nearly $146 million from the employment training sector, The Salvation Army's training programme, Employment Plus, is looking to cut tutors, courses, and in Balclutha, a training centre.

"The Government says it will "track down" thousands of young people who are either not in work or in training as part of its youth welfare policy, but at the same time it has pushed the employment training sector into crisis with punitive budget cuts," says Richard Wagstaff, PSA National Secretary.

"Given the country's 78,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds, we question the Government's logic of focusing new resources solely at 16 to 17 year olds, while disadvantaging other young people by cutting millions of dollars from the employment training sector.

"Cutting employment training opportunities that prepare young people for work is a disastrous road to take both in terms of employment and social outcomes for New Zealand.

"The Prime Minister says the budget cuts are a response to programmes that 'simply were not delivering results.' This flies in the face of The Salvation Army's published outcomes of people placed in work or additional training.

"The Salvation Army has provided employment training to around 600,000 New Zealanders over the past thirty years. It's ludicrous that the Government's on-going budget cuts are now, not only putting current proven and successful courses at risk, but are also forcing this organisation to review its future as a training provider.

PSA delegate and Employment Plus tutor Steve Bennett has been training young unemployed people for twelve years. His successful and popular automotive skills course in Tauranga is now at risk of closure.

"Many of the young people who come through our training schemes are from broken homes. This is not just a tutoring job, there's a social side to this work too, and it gets results," says Steve Bennett.

"The cuts to skills training providers are another example of the Government's wider cuts to public services," says Richard Wagstaff.

"Bill English told a business meeting recently that news of Government spending cuts brings tears of joy to those outside Wellington. What an irony that his austere budget cuts are behind the proposed closure of an employment training centre in his own Balclutha electorate.

"The truth is, these cuts are impacting young people and provincial communities as much as the public service head offices in Wellington, says Richard Wagstaff.

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