By Samantha Olley – Rotorua Daily Post
One hundred young people will get help finding their feet in Rotorua jobs, thanks to a $900,000 boost for the Youth Centre.
The Government has allocated $14.79 million to pathways to “vulnerable communities” for education, skills training, pre-employment and job pathway projects across the country.
Just under half of this funding was put into Bay of Plenty organisations such as the Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust.
Its $947,330 boost will connect youth with employers and support them to develop the skills to gain and sustain employment, following a successful pilot last financial year that helped 25 young people into employment into industries such as tourism and forestry.
The feedback from the pilot was “very positive”, chief executive Jen Murray said.
The funding will allow the youth centre’s new team of six Youth Employment Plus – Rotorua staff to “ramp up that work” as youth employment prospects take a “big” hit from Covid-19.
“This is not just an employment service, it’s about providing wraparound support for our rangatahi across agencies … from a youthcentric approach to meet their needs – not a one size fits all.”
Young people aged 15 to 24 who are not in education, employment or training – and young people at high risk of being in that situation – will be recruited for the programme.
Māori land corporation Rotomā No.1 was granted $396,000 to support 50 young people begin a career path, and 10 forestry workers to upskill and become mentors.
It owns 2686ha on the shore of Lake Rotomā, mostly dedicated to forestry.
“We contract a lot of people to do a lot of our work, so we thought, let’s put something together so some of our owners can get into the work that we provide,” chief executive Neville King told the Rotorua Daily Post.
“Already we’ve employed 14 rangatahi aged between 17 and 24 currently working on our land … A lot of them haven’t been employed in any way, shape, or form since they left school.”
The new employees have also been funded and guided by Rotomā No.1 to get fitter, healthier and improve their work ethics.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said: “New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by the regions and they need a well-trained workforce and sustainable employment opportunities to get their economies moving.”
Employment Minister Willie Jackson said: “This will be crucial for towns such as Rotorua and Kaikoura, where the effects of Covid-19 will be particularly difficult due to loss of income from international tourism.”
In Murupara, Te Runanga o Ngati Manawa Trust was given $2.29m to establish the Manawa Tu – Work for Life Centre, where locals will be able to access pre-employment training and employment services.
The centre will need at least eight staff – creating at least eight jobs, trust chairman Kani Edwards said.
General manager Maramena Vercoe said the privatisation of forestry companies led to gradual job losses for Ngati Manawa whanau over the past 30 years.
“Murupara has sustained a high level of negative social statistics but the runanga wants to help people look forward to a future and that is best done through being employed.”
Manawa Tu means to stand tall and Vercoe said the centre was the first step in a series of runanga projects that would help locals “regain mana, tino rangatiratanga and to provide for their whanau”.
The trust hopes to start refurbishing rooms for the centre next month and begin recruiting.
The Bay of Plenty Blue Light Youth Driver Navigator Programme was also given $3m to support 2000 at-risk young people gain their full driver’s licence.
It will support them with access to practice vehicles and driving instructors and paying licensing fees.
Kawerau Pathways to Work was given $58,923 to connect and extend existing local projects for employment pathways.