$250K Funding Boost to Create District-Wide Job Opportunities
The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Recovery initiative continues to flourish in regions throughout Aotearoa. The Waimate District Council has received $250,000 in a move to bolster youth employment opportunities and assist COVID-19 affected jobseekers within the area.
Waimate 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 MSD funded 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.
Reacting to the funding announcement, Waimate District Mayor Craig Rowley said he was thrilled to get the initiative underway. “To get the initial $250,000 is excellent news. The funding is going to be a huge push to continue growing the district in the right direction, and we believe there’s going to be some great opportunities opening up that will push our case for additional funding down the line,” Mayor Rowley said.
Southern Regional Commissioner for Social Development, Jason Tibble agrees “This is a great outcome for Waimate and we look forward to working with the Waimate District Council on this initiative. There are a number of young people registered with MSD that may qualify and benefit from this opportunity.”
“As part of the funding proposal, Council carried out a brief survey among local employers in the area and the early indication clearly showed there would be many requiring staff in the short to medium term.”
Charged with identifying and facilitating those additional staff members will be the Council’s Employment Coordinator, with recruitment for the position commencing this week. The Employment Coordinator will work alongside local business owners to assist with recruitment, training, guidance and employment subsidies, collectively encouraging employers to take on young workers, and residents who have previously been displaced due to COVID-19.
“We see this position to be a close link between Council and businesses and although this initiative is only targeted at small and rural based Councils, we see an ideal opportunity to work collaboratively with some of our neighbouring councils.”
Following the successful appointment, further conversation and messaging will be rolled out around the programme, with interested employers, jobseekers and the wider community encouraged to learn more at a public information session yet to be scheduled.
The initiative will aim to create around 50 jobs throughout the Waimate District over the next 12 months, and (subject to further funding) has the potential to continue through to 2022.