The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) is excited to launch a new pilot programme that will see four rural mayors linking vulnerable youth with employment opportunities in their regions.
Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as a response to the Covid crisis, the pilot will see the four councils assisting local businesses with recruitment, training, guidance and in some cases subsidies, to assist small businesses to take on young workers.
The four councils that have been identified for the pilot are Central Hawkes Bay District Council, Ōpōtiki District Council, South Wairarapa District Council and Rangitikei District Council.
Young workers have been hit hard by the Covid crisis, particularly in rural areas, so the pilot has a specific focus on getting rural NEETs (young people not in employment, education or training) into meaningful employment. With deep connections into their communities, rural mayors are well placed to link young people with employers.
“The Rangitikei District Council is absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to pilot the MTFJ Community Recovery Programme. With our strong networks between Council, iwi, the business sector and community, the programme gives Rangitikei a springboard to collectively make a difference for our people building ourselves and our future, together,” says participating Mayor Andy Watson
“We are able to react quickly and decisively due to being on the ground in our community. Not only does this pilot allow this to happen, but it also allows us to engage with different sectors of the community in a new and cooperative manner,” says Mayor Alex Beijen of South Wairarapa District Council.
The Minister for Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni said it was a priority to be supporting local communities and their young people.
“We know partnerships that help us support young people into jobs and training will be key to our recovery as a nation. It makes sense to be working closely with councils who are well connected to the needs of their communities and who have the ability to influence broad employment opportunities. We all have a part to play in ensuring our young people are able to realise their potential”.
The pilot will lead the way national expansion to include up to 23 rural councils (population of 20,000 or less). It has been developed under a Central Government Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, signed by the Minister of Employment Hon Willie Jackson, the Minister for Building and Construction Hon Jenny Salesa, the Minister for Youth Hon Peeni Henare and Mayors, supported by Ministry of Social Development and government agencies.
“Like many crises before us, young people will be disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19 with an increase in unemployment, working poverty and underemployment,” says MTFJ chair, Mayor Max Baxter.
“This pilot will provide much needed assistance to SME businesses which make up 97% of all New Zealand businesses and will enable councils to take a lead role in kick starting their communities’ COVID-19 economic recovery plans. Rural councils are great navigators and are well connected to their communities.”
“This partnership will go a long way in providing tangible assistance to create employment outcomes for districts that have been hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19” concluded Baxter.