PGF support for Tolaga Bay employment initiatives

Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development

More than 100 people in Tairāwhiti’s Tolaga Bay will benefit from two employment initiatives supported by the Provincial Growth Fund, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today.

“Tolaga Bay is an incredibly tight-knit community, but one in need of support to overcome a high unemployment rate, isolation and a lack of job opportunities,” Shane Jones said.

“The PGF support gives local people on the ground the tools and resources to help overcome these challenges, through opportunities in the construction and horticulture sectors.”

Willie Jackson says it’s essential to provide specialised support for rangatahi who face barriers to employment, as well as access to the right opportunities.

“The $1.3m in funding for Tolaga Bay shows this Government’s commitment to all communities in New Zealand, no matter their size or location,” Willie Jackson said.

The two employment projects are:

· Kuru Contracting Workforce Development Project (Kuru Contracting) - $736,000 through Te Ara Mahi.

· Uawanui Cultural Nursery Training Project (Te-Aitanga-a-Hautiti Centre of Excellence Trust) - $564,000 through He Poutama Rangatahi.

Kuru Contracting works in forestry and road construction. This funding will enable them to train 27 new employees and upskill 50 staff members in these sectors.

The Uawanui Cultural Nursery Training Project will give 28 rangatahi the opportunity to learn ecological restoration practices over two years while gaining qualifications from local education providers. The project will address the high unemployment rate in the district by focusing on young people at risk of long term unemployment.

Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.

About Te Ara Mahi

Te Ara Mahi (meaning ‘Pathways to Work’) was established to assist local people into local jobs, with a strong focus on people not in employment, education or training.

About He Poutama Rangatahi

HPR funds programmes that provide wrap-around support, tools, and guidance to help rangatahi aged 15 – 24 years old who are currently not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and are most at risk of long-term unemployment.

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