Taskforce Chair Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore, reminded Mayors that their role in the Taskforce was a civic leadership one which advocated for the cultural vision that no young person under the age of 25 would be without education, training or work in our communities. He noted that the Taskforce had foreshadowed the Local Government Act and the requirement for a Long Term Council Community Plan, by working together and taking up the social goal of engagement with our young people. Such work was now a requirement of local government and he urged Mayors to follow the example of the Mayor of New Plymouth Peter Tennent and put the objectives of the Taskforce into their Councils strategic plans.
He noted that it had been hard work getting government agencies to work in genuine partnership but there were now some examples of this happening. Another area where he felt Mayors could be effective was challenging the competitive nature of the tertiary sector and encouraging greater collaboration. Linking universities with the smaller rural centres, to add value to the agriculture sector, could also encourage people back into the rural areas.
A number of issues were also raised such as funding for ITO's and industry training, sustainable funding for community projects, immigration policies, growing pressures on local government, "nobodies clients" young people and long-term unemployed people, skill shortages, growth of sickness beneficiaries, lack of leadership and positive role models. These will be discussed with the appropriate bodies.
2. Problems with young people. They have been largely missing out on the new jobs which have been created since 1998. Two thirds of these jobs have gone to those 45 and over. This is a structural problem and the huge youth asset is somehow disconnected for out communities. He urged leaders and government agencies to work to "heal the problem" rather than "organising the problem" with a new scheme or programme. Mayors can be the leadership which can articulate the need for change throughout the whole system.
3. Problems with welfare. There needs to be a deeper debate on welfare, particularly around the issue of poverty. In one in seven households there is noone in work. 30% of our children are living in poverty. The single benefit reform is a management reform not a fundamental reform of the system. The answer to poverty is and has always been good paid work. Full employment is the best welfare policy to have and we need to get back to this.
Vivian also spoke of the need for fundamental change. Mayors are in a unique position as they have a mandate to speak to the whole of the community _ to see the whole picture and connect the dots, e.g. youth employment is complex and the issues intertwined such as skill shortages, housing issues, transport issues etc. Mayors understand the need for a whole of community approach in which government agencies are one part.
Youth and job guarantees, (not a scheme or a service), are a vision which will provide fundamental change.
The Far North cadetship programme is an initiative by the Northland Mayoral Forum. Partners in the programme are Far North District Council, Kaipara District Council, Whangarei District Council, Northland Regional Council, Ministry of Social Development (Work and Income)and the Tertiary Education Commission. The aim of the programme is to provide young people with a stepping stone towards long-term employment and sustainable careers, through training, personal development and work experience within a Council environment. The programme also aims to promote local government as a viable and exciting career option for young people. The programme is for 12 months and currently has 14 cadets across the Northland Councils who are working towards NZQA credits for the National Certificate in Employment Skills. Tania McInnes the Project Manager stressed that the project takes dedication and commitment but that the rewards are great for both Councils and individuals. Tom Brough, one of the young cadets from the Far North District Council inspired the meeting and showed how effective this programme was and how after being unemployed and doing a number of service jobs, he was now looking at embarking on obtaining qualifications in environmental science at the conclusion of his cadetship. The presentation and further information is available from:
Far North District Council
Private Bag 752
0800 920 029
Porirua Mayor Jenny Brash and Mandy Natusch (Business Porirua) from Porirua gave an outline of their work with apprenticeships, business education partnerships and their collaborative network. Research in 2002 on youth in the district showed that there was a mismatch between the skills and jobs available. Areas of shortage were in building and construction, health, education, tourism and Information Technology. There was also a lack of co-ordination of the various programmes and projects being undertaken in the area. To address these issues a local employment co-ordination group was formed, partnerships and positive working relationships were established with the Work and Income Regional Commissioner and the local Work and Income office, the Poriura Apprenticeship Trust was set up, school business partnerships were enhanced and a one stop shop opened in the city centre. Porirua are also one of the first five areas to set up a youth transition service. The presentation and further information is available from:
PO Box 50-309
04 237 5590
Otorohanga Mayor Dale Williams gave a detailed and inspiring presentation of how the town had managed to get a trade training centre and the issues involved with training for the trades and retaining skilled labour in a small town. Local business growth identified a labour shortfall at a time when the Otorohanga District Council was also investing in development and there was an inadequate entry level employee pool. It was clear that the two problems of recruitment and retention needed to be addressed. A Careers Expo was started, local businesses provided careers advisors with resources, young achievers awards were set up, and the idea of a Trades Training Campus was explored. The Campus will begin training this year with the results that local people will be trained locally, specialised courses have been developed to suit the regions needs and there is on-going apprenticeship support. The presentation and further information is available from:
Otorohanga District Council
PO Box 11
07 873 8199
Canterbury Development Corporation outlined their four pronged approach to youth development which includes, a youth transition service (Actionworks), working with at risk youth(Youthworks), youth entrepreneurs (Outside the Square) and a Maori and Pacifica unit(Rapu). Actionworks is a partnership between the Canterbury Development Corporation and Work and Income which provides information, advice and guidance about education, training and work to young people aged 13-19 in Canterbury. Over the last 5 years the service has seen a drop of 60% in the number of 18-19 year olds receiving unemployment benefit and a 89%increase of 18-19year olds participating in training. Youthworks provides intensive case management and long-term post placement support for 16-20year old youth at risk and recidivist offenders. The service also provides career and information and planning for 13 -16 year olds who are in the alternative education system and provides ongoing support to young people who receive or are wishing to apply for early school leaver exemptions (15 year olds). Rapu, kaupapa is to improve access to resources and provide culturally responsive services that enable Maori and Pasifika youth to achieve success in education, training and employment. The goal is to profile students and develop both individual and regional responses to identified needs analysis. Currently this involves retention, transition, leadership and collaboration. Outside the Square provides a range of initiatives aimed at promoting youth enterprise and entrepreneurial activity including an information portal, mapping regional and national initiatives, co-ordination and a youth enterprise cluster. The Canterbury Development Corporation helps young people determine their paths through education, training, work or starting your own business. The presentation and further information is available from:
Employment Development Manager
Canterbury Development Corporation
193 Cashel Street
PO Box 2962
This communication needs to be between government agencies, schools, community groups etc. The Mayor needs to take leadership to co-ordinate this communication.
The Mayor can ensure that government agencies are communicating and working together at the local level as this does not always happen.
The Mayor needs to ensure that solutions are applicable to the local community and not a Wellington driven approach.
The collective role of Mayors in the Taskforce is to "keep the government honest" and challenge policy directions which don't work in their communities.
Challenges for Mayors included:
The need to have longer term funding contracts
The need to ensure all players in their communities are talking to one another
The need to ensure there is true partnership between local and central government and the community.
Information about the various projects and general information access is very important _ not everyone is aware of how to access existing information.
The suggestion of a youth employment conference with young people participating.
The need to raise the profile and promote awareness of the Taskforce and the various MTFJ projects.
Ministry of Social Development funding and support has been great.
Mayors need more support material and presentation material to take back into their councils so they can present what's happening and inspire support. Councillors are not always aware of what is happening.
Cadetship programmes are good and we need to keep promoting these and building on the momentum.
Although unemployment is low there are still a large number of young people presenting with increased social and wellbeing issues.
Research support is needed for rural areas.
Rushed process, restrictive timeframe, poor timing, difficulties with collaborative and tender processes, lack of understanding by government agencies of the nature of partnership with local government and the community. It appears that in most areas there has been some damage to the intersectoral relationships within communities due to the process used to develop and negotiate these first services. It is hoped that this will not be repeated in the next 5 services currently being developed. The areas were however keen to see the services work effectively and to ensure that all aspects of dealing with youth tracking and employment were connected.
Private Secretary to Hon Steve Maharey
04 471 9495
Department of Labour
56 The Terrace
PO Box 3705
04 915 4044
Mike Smith from the Ministry of Social Development gave the Ministry's perspective on youth transition services. The objectives of the services are to: build better local level strategic planning for young people, raise individual, family, whanau and community aspirations for young people and improve the way of meeting the individual needs of young people. This will be delivered by a community planning process, a three year strategic plan, selection of a lead provider and delivery of the service. The delivery will provide school-leaver follow _up and engagement with young people, customised support and guidance, identification and support for the development of appropriate opportunities for young people and a forum for ongoing strategic planning and co-ordination of services for young people.
He acknowledged that there had been some difficulties with the first 5 services and agreed that the way forward was "to own it, fix it and learn from it". They were making a number of changes around the time-frame, the ability to vary the terms of reference, working in partnerships with local government, community, strategic planning and selection of providers. They were currently working on the need to keep everyone well informed and to look at the on-going governance of the services, the relationship between the lead provider and the Council and the database. Copies of Mike's presentation are available from:
Regional Operations Manager
Ministry of Social Development
PO Box 12-136
Mayors Taskforce for Jobs
Ph: 03 3848 212
Mobile: 0274 529 584