South Waikato youth to get hand up into jobs
News release - 11 March 2021
Twenty-five South Waikato youth not in employment education or training (NEETs) could soon be in paid work with help from WORKit, a $250,000 employment programme launched today by the South Waikato District Council and Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ), funded by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).
The WORKit programme is one of a number of Community Recovery Programme projects throughout the country funded by MSD through the Mayors Taskforce For Jobs (MTFJ), a nationwide network of Mayors working towards the vision of all young people under 25 being engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other positive activity in their communities. Since the middle of last year this has supported over 500 young and displaced workers into employment.
South Waikato District Mayor Jenny Shattock said COVID-19 had disproportionately impacted the job prospects of NEETs and the WORKit programme would help to address that issue.
“Employer reluctance to recruit in an uncertain economic climate was a factor,” said Mayor Shattock. “Also, the fact that many young people were in insecure employment, temporary, contract or seasonal work and were ‘let go’ first by employers.”
Van Dyks Flooring Xtra Putaruru General Manager Richard Stephens is one South Waikato employer who has had the rewarding experience of taking on a young NEET and seeing him flourish.
About two years ago Stephens took on Putaruru teenager D’rcy Ruru for work experience before employing him as a fulltime floor preparation apprentice.
“D’rcy is like so many young people. He just needed some structure and for someone to give him a chance. Now he’s going great guns.
“There are hundreds of young people like D’rcy in South Waikato and most of them have the potential to be great employees given the chance.”
For D’rcy experiencing work was life changing. “It opened my mind. It was pretty mean to earn my own money.” D’rcy saved money first to visit his Dad in Australia and then to buy his own car.
The Council will employ a full-time WORKit Connector for six months from April through to September to connect, engage, excite, prepare, and position NEET youth for employment opportunities in the district, with a target of getting 25 young South Waikato people into paid jobs.
The Connector will work with the local network of stakeholders that includes Raukawa Charitable Trust, South Waikato Pacific Island Community Trust, Cook Island Society, YMCA, high school Gateway co-ordinators, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and Te Wananga O Aotearoa.
Mayor Shattock said local MSD partnership will be critical and the Council will be working with MSD staff to support a pipeline of employers with current work opportunities. The Connector will identify targeted interventions, investments and support to enable the young person to take up a sustainable employment opportunity.
“The MTFJ programme is very flexible to enable us to help young people into jobs. It might be that we buy tools that can’t be funded by the employer or clothing such as a suit or overalls. If the young person doesn’t have access to a vehicle or public transport, we might help them to buy a bicycle or provide them with data credit.
“Additional support could include job interview skills, confidence building, grooming advice and, if necessary, specialist support with mental health and addiction or access to secure and safe accommodation.”
The WORKit Connector will be embedded in the community in Tokoroa in a walk-in site currently run by Impact Hub Waikato, close to public transport with free wi-fi.
“The connector will engage with the young person’s family in a holistic whanau centred approach. Young people with complex needs often live in chaotic circumstances and the Council recognises that a wider approach is often required to neutralise impediments to employment.”
For more information contact
Community and Corporate Group Manager
South Waikato District Council
07 885 0781
South Waikato District Council
0274 472 664
Van Dyks Xtra Flooring
07 883 7309
Mayors Taskforce for Jobs
04 924 1219