Imagine all young people under 25 engaged in appropriate education, training, work or positive activities in their communities – that’s the goal of a new programme rolling out in Te Puke and Maketu.
Western Bay Mayor, James Denyer has joined the programme – Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs – adding our rohe to a nationwide network of Mayors, working together to get all young people 16-25 working, training or contributing to their communities.
Other councils in the Taskforce have created initiatives that have seen over 380 people placed into apprenticeships, enabled 500 people to gain their driver licence, and supported 700 education and training opportunities.
According to a recently released study from the Salvation Army, the Bay of Plenty has the highest proportion of young people not in employment, education, or training in Aotearoa, so this programme has some work to do (in June 2022, 18.7 per cent – or 6500 – of 15- to 24-year-olds in the region were not in education, employment or training).
This much needed Western Bay version of the programme will be focused on helping youth in Te Puke and Maketu where support is most needed (over 400 young people unemployed, or not in the workforce, source: 2018 Census).
This complements the existing youth employment programme ‘Katikati Poutama – Pathways for Rangatahi’ already in action at the western end of the District.
The new Taskforce team will be working closely with existing local providers, and partnering with Colab, a group of social sector organisations based in Te Puke. The partnership will ensure that the Taskforce builds on their existing good work.
To assist Mayor James in making the Taskforce goal a reality, a new coordinator Davina Edwards, has joined the team.
Davina’s role will be focusing on tailoring the Taskforce’s mission to our Western Bay communities and connecting communities with opportunities. She will be helping to create paths and remove the barriers between our young people and education, training, and jobs.
Mayor James says, “Our District is so full of opportunities just waiting to be seized, but our young people can be stopped at the first hurdle.
“Often it’s something we take for granted, like having access to driver licensing and testing, that blocks
people from working towards their goals.
“I’ll be working with Davina to understand what we can do to remove those hurdles, and be an advocate for our young community.”
Existing businesses in our local communities also stand to benefit from the programme with access to new recruits, so it’s a positive for the whole community at a time when a lot of people are doing it tough.
For Davina, tailoring the solution to the community and its needs is the key to success.
“I’m new to the Western Bay and I’ve spent the last few weeks making my way around the rohe speaking with our communities and tangata whenua. Our District is rich with cultural diversity and that strong social fabric is something we can tap into to build successful programmes.”
Chris Johnstone, Colab coordinator says, they are excited about this great initiative.
“This is a great opportunity to work in partnership with Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the community, to provide good outcomes, training and employment for our young people.”
Council is a supporter of Colab and all the things they do for the Te Puke community. We look forward to working with them on this project.
Check out the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs website www.mtfj.co.nz/ for more information.
More information about Colab can be found on their website www.colabcommunity.nz.
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