Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
Making sure school children have futures they can bank on is the motivation behind funding a local Waikato education programme.
Te Ara Mahi, the Provincial Growth Fund’s skills and employment initiative, has allocated $449,300 towards Smart Waikato’s Secondary School Employer Partnership (SSEP) extension.
This programme introduces children to possible future employers and gives the community confidence through knowing there will be a future for its young people, by making it more attractive for them to stay, take up employment and possibly plan their whole lives locally.
The programme is aimed at students in Year 9 and 10 before they make their NCEA subject decisions to ensure they transition into further education and employment.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones is pleased with the difference this project will make.
“It really is about making sure everyone has a fair go and that means giving people options so they get off on the right foot.”
The SSEP programme introduces students to key Waikato industries, and aims to encourage students to stay in the area.
“This should mean more entry level work opportunities for students on the programme,” Shane Jones said.
“By 2021, thanks to the funding boost, the initiative will have students from 43 schools enrolled in the programme.
“The programme supports a number of worthy goals. The aim is to improve student retention and achievement, help these same students get a foot in the door of paid employment, and ensure a consistent supply of skilled labour for the regional economy.”
“This is an exciting development for the people of the Waikato,” Shane Jones said.
Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.
Te Ara Mahi team is a scheme set up to support pathways to work for everyday New Zealanders.