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Social Development Minister Anne Tolley today announced new funding of $1.8 million over three years to grow the skills and capability of Tairāwhiti’s regional labour force, including youth.

Mrs Tolley says the significant investment in the labour force is a key element in the Government’s Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan, announced today by Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges.

“Our aim is to create pathways and opportunities for people to move from education and training into employment and improve local training opportunities to better meet the needs of the region’s employers and industry,” says Mrs Tolley.

Most of the Ministry of Social Development’s Action Plan funding will be spent in the first year and includes:

$450,000 over three years towards supporting clients to gain their driver licence (MSD currently funds around $92,000 per year) $150,000 towards a coordinator in the horticulture sector $280,000 towards contracts with employers and training providers to support the seasonal labour force $240,000 for investment in training, employment and pastoral care $300,000 towards truck driver training $220,000 towards a pilot to support clients to rehabilitate from drug use with a focus on gaining employment $185,000 towards implementing the Tairāwhiti Youth Employment Strategy.

Mrs Tolley says the Tairāwhiti Youth Employment Strategy was developed by Activate Tairāwhiti in three workshops with over 180 people, including local employers, education and training providers, iwi, social agencies, youth representatives and officials.

“The Tairāwhiti economy has great potential for growth in tourism, the primary sector and related industries, such as engineering, transport and trucking,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The strategy will involve and benefit youth in the region with skills and support to foster their greater participation in the economy. Employers and the whole community will benefit from more skilled labour, with young people and their whānau benefitting from better incomes.

“I’m really pleased to support local efforts to address youth unemployment. Developing the potential of young jobseekers to match the needs of business is vital for the social and economic future of Tairāwhiti.”

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