Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced a funding injection of $449,300 over three years from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) into Smart Waikato’s Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEP).
The award-winning program will extend into 21 more regional secondary schools and work with employers to create more transition-to-work opportunities. Its success is underpinned by a collective approach between Smart Waikato, community philanthropic organisations, corporates and other funders over the next three years.
Funding from the PGF will create more jobs for the youth of Waikato by enabling Smart Waikato to work with 140 existing SSEP employers to develop and promote entry level work opportunities, linking back to further education where applicable.
“This is fantastic news for the Waikato and for everyone who has been involved with SSEP over the past four years,” said Smart Waikato chief executive Mary Jensen.
By 2021, 10,000 students will have been enrolled in SSEP in 43 of 50 secondary schools throughout the region. Schools with a high Māori population will be a priority.
Smart Waikato will also establish a greater presence in Southern Waikato, extending SSEP there by engaging more employers and developing work readiness and transition-to-work opportunities as part of the South Waikato Economic Action Plan (SWEAP).