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Hawke’s Bay Pulls Together on Funding for Youth Bid

August 19, 2009

Hawke’s Bay is mobilising to ensure the region maximises its share of the Government’s $150-million funding package aimed at getting young people into training and jobs.

EIT Hawke’s Bay, the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce and Career Services are running with a suggestion for a coordinated regional approach floated at a Ministry of Social Development briefing last week.

Since then, momentum has been building for the initiative. EIT deputy chief executive Claire Hague says it now includes Te Puni Kokiri, “which has some excellent ideas about how to support young Māori”, and the Napier Family Centre, “which has had a lot of experience in the area of preparing people for work opportunities”.

“The next step,” she says, “is going to be meeting the many community organisations involved with youth.”

Four major planks of its policy are:

” Youth Guarantee – a staged scheme costing $52.7 million and creating up to 2000 full-time equivalent student places in each of the 2010 and 2011 calendar years

” A one-off $8 million funding boost to help high-performing polytechnics and institutes of technology provide up to 700 new places to help cope with forecast enrolment growth next year

” Community Max – a $40.3 million scheme to boost youth work opportunities by supporting up to 3000 places or community projects for young people

” Job Ops – a $20 million scheme to fund around 4000 entry level jobs for under 25-year-olds with low or no qualifications

EIT has been invited to submit a proposal for the Youth Guarantee package and Ms Hague says Hawke’s Bay can make a strong case for this funding. EIT and some private training establishments were strong on courses offering embedded numeracy and literacy, which the Government was keen to have in place. Another plus was EIT’s new trades training facility opening early next year.

“EIT is also hoping its bid to site a Government Trades Academy on campus is successful.”

Youth Guarantee could fund tertiary study opportunities for an initial 80 or so Hawke’s Bay and East Coast school leavers, but the numbers are unclear at this point.

Tertiary education providers must have their proposals in by the end of August. They learn next month whether they have been successful.

At the same time, the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Social Development are working together to match potential employers with young candidates for the Job Ops and Community Max schemes.

Mentoring arrangements and student support systems will be critical to the success of the programmes.
The Hawke’s Bay project group is also hoping for input from young people as the Government rolls out its policy.

“In essence, we are looking for a Hawke’s Bay solution to a national initiative,” said the chamber’s chief executive, Murray Douglas.

While there were issues to be ironed out, Mr Douglas said those involved in the regional bid were motivated by the benefits that the scheme could deliver to Hawke’s Bay.

“This is an excellent opportunity to retain more young people in the region and invest in their training and employment so they can contribute to the Hawke’s Bay economy and community.”