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Council welcomes funding for youth employment programmes

mahi for youth opening

Hastings District Council’s successful youth employment approach has been recognised by Minister of Employment Willie Jackson who today announced $980,000 He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) funding over two years to extend and expand the programme.

According to MBIE figures from December 2019, Hastings has a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) rate of 12.9 per cent, down from 17.6 per cent in December 2018, in part due to the efforts of council’s youth employment team, and its partners through HPR.

For the last two and a half years council has made youth employment a key focus to try and address the high NEET rates, and these efforts have gained government support through the HPR initiative facilitated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

HPR seeks to support rangatahi on the pathway to sustained employment through programmes tailored to the context of where they live.

At Hastings District Council the youth employment team’s connectors offer support by engaging with rangatahi, employers and whanau. To date the team has engaged 368 youth and as of the final contract date had placed 180 into employment or training.

The additional funding will extend the current service for another 24 months both to expand it and enhance its effectiveness and reach.

This includes employing one more youth connector to engage with young people through the Mahi for Youth pop-up in the Hastings CBD, it will also enable the team to go mobile through the provision of the youth employment caravan that will head out into the region to reach those young people who may not easily be able to come into the city.

To strengthen the connection with small to medium businesses, an extra employer connector will join the current one, and to provide specialised support a Hinengaro connector (mental health professional) will also be added to the team.

Council acting group manager community wellbeing and services Dennise Elers said gaining the funding was not only important to enable the team to keep up their work, it was also a heartening endorsement from central government, recognising the effectiveness of the youth employment programme.

“Our team works very hard to engage with our rangatahi, all driven by a desire to support and enrich their lives.

“It’s also a reflection of the strength of our partnerships with other HPR providers, and how we work together and support each other.”

Photo: Minister Willie Jackson at the opening of the Hastings District Council’s Mahi for Youth pathways to employment pop-up in central Hastings in September last year.

26 August 2020

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