Government announces $13 million for youth employment scheme

  • 26/01/2018

The Government has announced its first initiative to tackle youth unemployment in the regions.

More than $13 million has been allocated to support communities in Northland, Eastern Bay of Plenty, the East Coast and Hawke's Bay.

The money will be used to help 2,000 young people who are not in employment, education or training to find jobs.

Employment Minister Willie Jackson said: "It's just four regions at the moment. I mean in West and South Auckland we're not even touching there. So obviously we need to bring in more funding and resourcing over the next two to three years."

The Government also announced it will double its funding for employment scheme Kiwi Can Do, a program that helps people gain work in the construction industry.

In December, NZ First's Regional Development Minister Shane Jones proposed a work for the dole scheme, suggesting young people could be made to plant trees, and he's been talking to Mr Jackson about that.

However, the scheme announced on Friday makes no mention of compulsion or punitive measures and is focused on support for unemployed young people.

"The crisis of entrenched unemployment is real for many rangatahi and their communities," Mr Jackson said.

""We will allocate $13.27m under the initiative to support communities within these regions to help connect young people to real jobs, identified by employers and those communities."

Mr Jackson said communities were eager to be part of the scheme.

"Fundamental to this approach will be building a kete (basket) of tightly woven pastoral care around individuals," he said.

"This is only the first step of many we will need to take."

National's employment spokesman, Paul Goldsmith, said the announcement showed Mr Jackson didn't understand where jobs actually came from.

"Mr Jackson's flowery rhetoric really says nothing," he said.

"The best way to get young people into work is to have an economy that is creating plenty of jobs."

NZN/ Newshub.