Prime Minister Bill English has announced a new investment of $50 million to help the most at-risk young people in regional New Zealand into jobs.

A total of $42 million over four years will be allocated from Budget 2017 to fund locally-designed projects in four regions with the highest proportion of young people at risk of long-term unemployment.

A further $8 million will also be invested in initiatives aimed specifically at giving young Maori the skills and tools they need to find work.

“Regional economies across New Zealand are growing strongly and have thousands of jobs to be filled,” Mr English says.

“There hasn’t been a better opportunity in decades to match unemployed young people with real, sustainable jobs in our regions.”

The Youth Employment Pathways programme will work intensively with the 5280 most at-risk unemployed young people in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, the Eastern Bay of Plenty and East Coast. 

“These are the young people that have already been on benefit for six months or more,” Mr English says.

“They are at the greatest risk of not developing good work habits over their lifetime. If we can get them into a job and keep them there over the next 12 months, we can change the trajectory of their lives.”

The Youth Employment Pathways programmes will be led from within each region and involve employers, training providers, NGOs and government agencies all working together.

“We’ve learnt from programmes like Project 1000 in Hawke’s Bay and Kaikohe Grow in Northland that there is no one-size fits all approach. By using the tools of Social Investment and local knowledge we can make a real difference for these young people,” Mr English says.

“The Government’s strong economic plan is delivering steady growth in regional New Zealand, supported by new infrastructure like ultrafast broadband and the regional roading projects. This programme will help ensure all of the young people in each region can participate in and benefit from this strong regional growth.”

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