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$1m boost to youth training

Two Tairawhiti educational and employment readiness programmes are to benefit from funding announced by Employment Minister Willie Jackson in Gisborne yesterday.

More than $1 million will go to the Tautua Village's Kauneke programme, and to the Matapuna-supported employment programme. The investment will fund 120 youth over two years.

“Both programmes work to help young people in danger of long-term unemployment find their feet in the world of work,” says Mr Jackson.

“Tautua Village is focused on helping develop leadership skills using a te ao Maori and Pasifika framework to teach work readiness skills.

“The Kauneke project is an expansion of that vision to build employment readiness among hard-to-place rangatahi, including Maori, Pacific, rainbow and those with a disability.”

The Matapuna project expands on an existing programme and will work with rangatahi in danger of becoming unemployed when they turn 18.

“With Tautua Village, what I like about it is they're bringing these skilled practitioners in, particularly in the ‘rainbow' areas,” Mr Jackson told The Gisborne Herald.

The term “rainbow” broadly refers to gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

“These are tough areas,” says Mr Jackson of youth who slip through academic and employments gaps.

“These kids go into their own world. They are the forgotten groups. That's what appeals to me with funding these groups.

“They are part of us, part of the whanau. This is any young ones — Maori, Pasifika, Pakeha — some working class Pakeha go through similar problems. We support everyone and anyone.”

Tautua Village works hand-in-hand with Matapuna Training Centre but focuses on Maori, Pasifika, rainbow people and those with disabilities, says Mr Jackson.

The Kauneke programme will support 80 young people who have left school with no qualifications and will get them work-ready.

People in Gisborne want to work and the Matapuna-supported employment programme aims to support that, says Mr Jackson.

A lot of kids are not interested in going to university and might be more interested in a trade where they will earn good money.

“We have to be encouraging to these guys and young women. We have to get away from the elitist point of view. We have labour shortages in this country.”

The programme will be delivered in partnership with Trust Tairawhiti.

Funding for the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme, and the Matapuna-supported employment programme comes under one of three of the Government's Provincial Development Unit programmes — the Provincial Growth Fund, Sector Workforce Engagement Programme and He Poutama Rangatahi.

The latter is a pilot initiative that focuses on tackling youth unemployment.

EMPLOYMENT READINESS FUNDING: Employment minister Willie Jackson (back, second right) was joined by Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz (front left) and East Coast Labour MP Kiri Allan at an announcement yesterday of funding for two Tairawhiti educational and employment readiness programmes. Picture supplied
EMPLOYMENT READINESS FUNDING: Employment Minister Willie Jackson (back row, second from right) was joined by Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz (front left) and East Coast Labour MP Kiri Allan (front row, second from right) at Matapuna Training Centre yesterday for an announcement of funding for two Tairawhiti educational and employment readiness programmes. Picture supplied