|SIGN UP OF A LOCAL COMMITMENT TO YOUNG PEOPLE — NELSON TASMAN CONNECTIONS (from left to right) Paul Matheson (Mayor of Nelson), John Hurley (Mayor of Tasman), Mike Smith (Regional Commissioner - Work and Income), Hon Rick Barker (Associate Minister of Social development and Employment] at the launch of Nelson Tasman Connections.|
This Strategy Report can be downloaded (PDF, 26pg, 2.3MB) from here
LAUNCH OF NELSON TASMAN CONNECTIONS
19 November 2003
"Young people need to be in some sort of education, training or work, if they are to be successful, fulfilled community members," says Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson. "Yet many of the young people in our region are falling through the gaps. That's where Nelson Tasman Connections steps in."
Nelson Tasman Connections has been developed locally to meet the National Mayors Taskforce for Jobs objective of having all 15 to 19 year olds engaged in appropriate education, training, work or other options which will lead to long term economic independence and well-being.
More than 150 people representing a variety of agencies with an interest in youth attended the Nelson Tasman Connections launch last week, including school principals, managers of government agencies, local MPs, district councillors, youth training providers, the police, community groups and local iwi.
Richard Butler, Manager Community Development, explained "Connections is a framework for various local support agencies to work together. The name Nelson Tasman Connections was chosen to illustrate all sectors of the community working collaboratively towards the commitment to achieve our shared goals.
The four fundamentals of the project are:
- Leadership - finding the resources to deliver support and services
- Professional personal support, working with young people most at risk of becoming disconnected
- Community support- individual, family, whänau, community and businesses ensuring that the support structures and services are readily available
- Youth support- young people helping each other with adult support.
DOWNLOAD "REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL" DOCUMENT from here
The importance of Connections
The scheme grew out of the national Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs, which seeks to form partnerships between central and local government to get all school leavers aged under 20 into work, training or tertiary education by 2007.
Many organisations already strive for such an outcome - there are 140 in our region that work with youth - but they are bedevilled by fragmentation.
They often don't know much about the others and do not sufficiently spread knowledge of their own work. Nelson Tasman Connections has the goal of linking them in a way that will prevent individuals from falling through the cracks, as they sometimes do today.
The Government is contributing $60,000 and the two local authorities have put in $10,000 each. A coordinator will be hired and young people will be steered from one organisation to another until they are off the unemployment register.
It will be some time before the scheme's effectiveness can be judged. However, it should be warmly welcomed by the community as a positive step which has the potential to do a lot of good.
It will provide a practical pathway to help those youths who do not easily join the mainstream, even in times of low unemployment like now.
In getting them into work or training it could not only change individual lives for the better but also have wider benefits such as bringing down the crime rate. If it is successful in our region and is adopted nationally, it might even help to reduce welfare spending.
An enthusiastic steering group headed by Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson has worked hard to get Nelson Tasman Connections off the ground.
There is much still to be done but already people are asking why someone didn't think of the idea sooner. That's a positive signal that it should make a real difference.