Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston has welcomed the opening of the next round of funding for erosion control in the Gisborne region.
The Ministry of Primary Industries’ Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) helps eligible land owners in the region contain erosion and improve susceptible land.
Improvements were recently made to the programme, including providing upfront funding to reduce the financial burden for land owners and extending the land categories eligible for treatment.
“We hope that these changes will enable more land owners to take up the funding opportunity,” says Ms Upston.
“Severe erosion causes long-term damage to the productivity of rural land. It threatens communities and rural businesses and damages infrastructure.”
The ECFP was established in 1992 and MPI works closely with Gisborne District Council and Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou to deliver the programme.
Last year 37 applications totalling $2.39 million covering 1438ha were approved.
The latest funding round is open from today until 30 June 2017.
Community groups, iwi and other organisations are also now able to apply for funding for projects to reduce erosion in the region. Access to this project funding is available year round and more information on eligibility and the application process will be available early next month.
For more information go to www.mpi.govt.nz/ecfp
Support service roles are helping to increase employment opportunities in primary sector industries, a new report shows.
Overall, employment in primary sector industries increased by 5400 between 2012 and 2014, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) report Human Capabilities in the Primary Industries.
“The majority of these new jobs were support service roles, which includes scientists, accountants, engineers and agricultural technicians,” Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston says.
“These new roles are being driven by factors such as more sophisticated technologies, growing Asian markets and areas such as food safety, biosecurity and animal welfare.”
The report provides an overview of employment and qualification trends in the primary industry sector between 2002 and 2014.
“This analysis and previous forecasting suggest the trends identified in this report will continue to shape employment needs into the future,” Ms Upston says.
“The expansion of the horticulture and dairy sectors will continue to have an effect, as well as businesses adding value to our primary production. This increasing sophistication and the greater need for professional support will create many new specialist roles. The Government is working with the primary industry on a number of initiatives to build capability across the sector so that we can meet current and future needs.”
The Human Capabilities in the Primary Industries report can be found here:
Learners and employers are demanding more flexible learning and a combination of technical and life skills knowledge, according to feedback to the Tertiary Education Commission.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has been travelling the country holding workshops to gain feedback from stakeholders on the future of career information ahead of the transition of Careers New Zealand to the TEC in July.
“Feedback provided to TEC at the workshops found learners and employers are expecting access to seamless, tailored education services that are digitally connected and responsive to fast-changing skills needs,” says Louise Upston, Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.
“In our increasingly digital world, that means learners and employers are demanding more flexible delivery as traditional tertiary education models are being placed under ever greater pressure.
“To help Kiwi workers keep pace with technological advances, the workshops also heard it will be vital for learners to get the right balance of hard skills such as qualifications and training, and soft skills like resilience, learning new skills quickly and self-management,” says Ms Upston.
“Even though we can’t predict with accuracy what New Zealand’s skills requirement will be 10 years from now, the findings from these workshops will help ensure we make the best investments to support New Zealanders navigate the continually changing labour market of the future.
“The Government is committed to ensuring people have the right skills for work and helping businesses grow and prosper. That’s why we have set a target of 50,000 in work-based training by 2020 and we are well on our way to achieving it,” Ms Upston says.
The workshops involved employers, iwi, young people, regional economic development representatives and private career service organisations across the country.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston will tomorrow host the second in a series of employer breakfasts in Canterbury to outline how they can help change the lives of offenders, their families and their communities.
Ms Upston and Corrections will showcase the work being done by the department to provide better outcomes for offenders, including helping them into regular paid employment. The first breakfast held in Hamilton last month attracted many employers keen to hire motivated and skilled workers.
Corrections signed up its 100th employer last month but more are needed to provide men and women steady work and a regular income when they leave prison.
“Some prisoners have never held down a job, yet we know that people who find stable employment on leaving prison are less likely to end up back in the justice system. Having a job is crucial to reducing reoffending,” Ms Upston says.
“Corrections provides prisoners with opportunities including education, skills and work training. We know there is a skills shortage and some employers are struggling to find skilled and motivated workers, so this is a win-win for all involved.”
Corrections has seen around 9000 offenders involved in employment-related activities last year and more than 4600 achieving qualifications, a 25 per cent increase on the year before.
Corrections employs full-time education tutors who support 4769 prisoners and deliver education and employment training programmes including horticulture, manufacturing, construction, painting and hospitality.
Corrections also has initiatives aimed at supporting employers to take on offenders. The Employment Support Service provides job placement and up to six months in-work support to help former prisoners get and keep their jobs. Offender recruitment consultants work with offenders and employers around the country.
“Corrections does the work to find the right person for the job, and employers gain a skilled employee,” Ms Upston says.
Further employer breakfasts are planned in other urban centres around the country.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston today acknowledged the nearly 250 nurses, team leaders and health centre managers who deliver primary health services to prisoners behind the wire every day.
Each year International Nurses Day is celebrated on 12 May - the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It recognises the contribution made by nurses around the world.
New Zealand Corrections nurses carry out more than 100,000 consultations with prisoners every year.
“It is important that we acknowledge the work of Corrections nurses to improve prisoners’ wellbeing,” says Ms Upston.
“Prison nurses have complex workloads and work in a unique and challenging environment that is quite different from the world outside the wire.”
Corrections nurses have a significant impact on the lives of prisoners. The healthcare provided by prison nurses helps them better engage in education, rehabilitation programmes, and employment opportunities and ultimately reduces their risk of reoffending.
“Their patients typically have higher health and mental health needs than the rest of the community, and these nurses are often the first healthcare professionals that prisoners have seen in some time,” Ms Upston says.
The theme of International Nurses Day this year is Nurses: A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Louise Upston has welcomed the passing of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill today.
The Education Act has been updated to streamline the way government careers services and information are provided. As a result of a Government review of the careers system, Careers New Zealand is being disestablished and staff and functions will transfer to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on 1 July 2017.
“This is a positive step towards an improved careers system that will strengthen connections between education and employers, reduce fragmentation and duplication across government agencies and make pathways into further study and work clearer,” Ms Upston says.
“A refocused careers service within the TEC will make use of the commission’s ability to work with tertiary providers and employers so they co-ordinate with schools on the skill needs of the labour market.
“Students and their families can expect to have access to better and more consistent careers services and information as well as a continually expanding and improving suite of online tools,” Ms Upston says.
Employers will benefit from stronger connections with schools and tertiary providers and a more direct link to the skills pipeline, and careers education that links teaching and learning to the application of skills, knowledge and competencies in the labour market.
Associate Minister of Education Louise Upston has today officially opened Rangiora High School’s new $14.9 million facilities.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the redevelopment of Rangiora High School to support the delivery of innovative teaching and meet the future needs of its community,” Ms Upston says.
Rangiora High School experienced growth for several years prior to a sudden increase in student numbers associated with the Christchurch earthquakes. It also had a large number of relocatable classrooms that were reaching the end of their lifespan.
This project provides the school 26 new innovative teaching spaces that replace ageing facilities and extend the school’s overall capacity.
“A priority for this Government is investing in a targeted way to deliver the types of environments that support young people to learn and achieve,” Ms Upston says.
“A key focus in recent years has been addressing complex property issues for schools in areas of growth. To get the best return on our investment we have used a programme of major redevelopments to help schools address highly complex property issues, modernise aging infrastructure, and extend accommodation in line with projected growth.
“This approach delivers cost efficiencies, reduces disruptions to school activities, and considers the long-term needs of the school,” Ms Upston says.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston has welcomed 40 new Corrections officers who have completed training.
The recruits graduated at a ceremony in Wellington yesterday and will now return to prison sites across the country.
“As a Corrections officer or offender employment instructor, these men and women can be a positive role model for many prisoners and help motivate them to turn away from a life of crime,” says Ms Upston.
The Minister’s Excellence Award was presented to Ieremia (Jerry) Teofilo of Mt Eden Corrections Facility in recognition of the leadership, professionalism and all around excellence he displayed throughout training.
“I am delighted to welcome Jerry to the team at Corrections,” says Ms Upston. “His enthusiasm, positivity and passion is highly valued by his fellow colleagues and the prisoners whose lives he has the opportunity to influence.”
“I am grateful that these men and women from all backgrounds, ethnicities and walks of life, have chosen to work with Corrections,” says Ms Upston.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Louise Upston have welcomed the latest apprenticeship figures, which show an increase of 6800, nearly 19 per cent, since 2012.
“We now have over 43,000 New Zealanders engaged in an apprenticeship, with most of those in the construction and engineering sectors,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“We are in the middle of the New Zealand’s biggest ever building boom, the rapid scaling-up of construction in Auckland will result in around $17 billion of new construction in 2018,” says Mr Goldsmith.
The Government has invested $14.4 million in industry training as part of Budget 2016, along with a further $9.6 million for Māori and Pasifika Trades Training, over four years.
“The Government is investing to meet the skills challenge, but we need support from parents, teachers, careers advisors, and businesses if we are to meet our target of 50,000 apprentices by 2020.”
The Occupation Outlook, published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE), projects strong job prospects for qualified trades workers over the next few years. This is due in part to construction activity in Auckland and nationally.
“Trade apprenticeships are not just an alternative career choice for young people, they are critical for our economic growth. The Occupation Outlook is a fantastic resource for young people considering their future careers,” Ms Upston says.
“Our Government has set an ambitious target of 50,000 people to be training in apprenticeships by 2020 and we are working with industry training organisations on an action plan to achieve that.”
Corrections has completed a programme to equip all its prisons with secure computer suites that allow prisoners access to online learning tools, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
“With new Secure Online Learning (SOL) suites being opened at Mt Eden Corrections Facility, Waikeria and Invercargill Prisons, all Corrections prisons now have access to these secure, controlled and monitored learning environments,” says Ms Upston.
The SOL suites give prison-based learners access to secure computer suites and online tools that allows them to engage in education, life skills, employment and reintegration-focused training.
“Online learning appeals to many people who have had difficulties engaging in traditional educational methods and is especially appealing to the younger prison population,” says Ms Upston.
“Using these learning tools also allows prisoners to develop basic IT skills, something valued by many employers and training providers.”
Up to nine prisoners can use a suite at any one time and access pre-approved applications and websites to use the online learning tools. All prisoners using SOL are supervised while they learn and have to pass a rigorous selection process. A secure IT solution ensures they cannot navigate away from the sites that they have been authorised to use.
The SOL project was announced in August 2015 after a two-year pilot at Christchurch Men’s Prison and has been progressively implemented across the Corrections estate.
"This project has already proven successful with around 1200 learners using the current suites in 2016,” says Ms Upston.
Further work to come includes the introduction of fingerprint technology to ensure safer and more secure prisoner logins, a separate literacy and numeracy assessment portal to encourage the wider use of online assessment tools and Microsoft Excel, Power Point and Publisher. The number of pre-approved websites will also increase from 11 to more than 20.
“Education is key to prisoners’ reintegration and motivating them to make a positive change to their lives,” says Ms Upston.
“I’m delighted we’re able to provide prisoners with more opportunities to further their education and develop positive study habits and confidence.”