New Zealand Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced that the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest NZ$ 3.88 million in a range of digital, work and life skills training for young unemployed people in Northland.
According to a recent press release, these programs will collectively support over 800 rangatahi (young people) and will be funded through the He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) programme.
Providing opportunities for the unemployed youth
This programme aims to support young people, aged 15-24, who are not currently in employment, education or training to overcome barriers to get them into work.
Northland has a number of young people with few or no qualifications, who are interested in the digital sector through gaming but lack basic coding skills or the motivation, confidence or networks required to pursue qualifications or employment in this area.
The programmes that are funded are:
- NGEN Room (He Puna Marama Trust) NZ$ 990,000
NGEN Room is a 12-month digital technology programme for 16-24 year old rangatahi and combines life skills, NCEA credits (level 1-3), and work experience.
- Life Talk (Kamo Driving School) NZ$ 396,000
Life Talk is a 12-week programme that builds digital skills within the context of broader life and work skills development, including driver licensing.
It combines digital skills training with local web developers, as well as work experience with local employers – both digital and non-digital based on the needs of participants.
- He Poutama Taitamariki NZ$ 2.5 million (HPT)
The successful Northland pilot programme, He Poutama Taitamariki (HPT) will receive funding of NZ$ 2.5 million from HPR.
The fund will be used to continue its work to improve employment and training outcomes for young people most at risk of long-term unemployment and poor social outcomes for another year.
Both NGEN Room and Life Talk have a digital technology focus. Both projects also provide on-going pastoral care to support participants during training and beyond.
The Ministry of Social Development is also providing NZ$ 2.7 million in the He Poutama Taitamariki programme. The programme is run by the Ministry.
Employment Minister Willie Jackson said the HPR support will get local people ready for local jobs.
HPT has already worked with 116 employers since October 2018 to get more than 750 rangatahi into further training or employment, which is an outstanding result.
The programme works to increase the resilience, social connectedness and work readiness of taitamariki.
It also includes access to professional support services, work placement and 12 months support for those on the course and employers.
The rangatahi targeted by HPR are those most at risk of long-term unemployment.
They are those who may need more individualised and ongoing support to connect to training and employment than current programmes are able to provide.