MSD NEWS: MTFJ providing opportunities for our local young people
The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Recovery initiative continues to flourish in regions throughout Aotearoa.
Hurunui District Council, supported by the MTFJ, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), are working towards the vision of local young people under 25 being able to access employment, and gain skills to become more sustainable in their communities. This is especially important in the current environment, where the economic impact of Covid-19 has the potential to create more barriers for our young people.
Following the success of the pilot programme, featuring rural mayors connecting youth in their regions with local small businesses, Industry Partnerships at MSD and the MTFJ Core Group scaled up the initiative around the country, to include up to 23 Rural Councils.
“Partnering with MSD is a big win for the Taskforce – it’s an endorsement of the work we’re doing and the belief that we have, that mayors can successfully connect youth and businesses. This programme has big net benefits not just for youth, but for our entire country, both socially and economically,” says MTFJ Chair and Ōtorohanga Mayor Max Baxter.
The Hurunui District Council has already provided seventeen local youth referred by MSD with work experience and training opportunities across farming, building, hospitality, hairdressing, conservation, fencing, transport, stormwater surveying, weed control and vineyard work.
The partnership has proven valuable to both employers and the young people. Property owners have been very grateful and complimentary of the team’s commitment and their attitude in doing a good job. In turn, while they’ve found the work hard and physical, the youth have been thankful for the opportunity and help they’ve received in preparing to enter the workforce.
The work experience opportunities are designed to lead into sustainable employment. Two youth have already been promoted to supervisor roles in the Nasella Tussock team, working on 2000 acre properties, A third youth has received work experience and training via the MTFJ funding with a local hair studio, that will then will progress into a Mana in Mahi apprenticeship, where she’ll be working towards formal qualifications with support from MSD Work Broker, Michelle Becks.
Work Ready workshops have been developed to provide support and mentoring with becoming work ready, having positive attitudes and making the most of the opportunities. The workshop covers basic skills of how to look after yourself, eating well and how to ask for help when you need it. The youth also have access to a Budgeting Workshop and a two-day First Aid Course. Through these workshops, the needs of the youth are supported to help ensure sustainability in their employment.
MSD provide ongoing support with NEETS (young people who are not engaged in education, employment or training) youth and providing suitable candidates for roles, and ongoing support for moving into the Mana in Mahi apprenticeship programme.
“I am very proud of this project, this is making a positive difference to our youth, our families and our communities,” comments Marie Black, Mayor of Hurunui.
“MTFJ is one of the functions that I am asked about most often as Mayor of the district, it is creating an opportunity for successful employment along with lifting the moral and emotional wellbeing of all who are participating.
I stopped to speak with two of the youth who I had spent the day grubbing Nassella Tussock with, and their confidence to stop and chat was very rewarding. Their willingness to express their gratitude through this opportunity was a highlight for me.”
“It is essential that young people in rural areas receive proactive support in entering training and work opportunities,” says Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner for the Canterbury region, Diane McDermott. “This is a fantastic partnership with local SMEs that will benefit our young people and return long lasting benefits to the community as a whole.”
Hurunui District Council and MSD will continue to work with local Rangatahi to enhance their opportunities and skills.