$717k investment in BOP employment programme

Employment Minister Willie Jackson in Tauranga today. Photos: John Borren/SunLive.

Employment Minister Willie Jackson is welcoming an initiative that will help up to 60 at-risk young people in the Bay of Plenty into employment.

They will receive intensive training and extended pastoral support, thanks to a $407,400 investment for the Bay of Plenty Youth Development Trust’s ‘Imagine, Believe, Achieve (Moemoea, Kimihia, Taea)’ employment training programme.

The money comes from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s He Poutama Rangatahi fund.

“This programme will help equip young people living in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty with the skills and support they need to achieve their potential and gain jobs in the labour market,” says Jackson.

“The ‘Imagine, Believe, Achieve’ programme offers vital support to communities with complex socio-economic needs, including high rates of youth unemployment. One of its core aims is to boost young peoples’ confidence, resilience, and capacity to achieve their goals.”

The Ministry of Social Development is contributing $310,000 to the programme’s set-up costs, which include developing a curriculum and engaging local education providers.

“At a time of unprecedented change due to CONVID-19, the Government is working hard to establish employment pathways and secure Kiwi jobs. Now is the right time to keep investing in skills development for our young people,” says Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni.

The HPR funding will provide participants with intensive pastoral care from trainers and a psychologist, tailored education and training, employment opportunities and job placements.

Principles of tikanga and te reo Māori are woven into this 18-month programme wrap-around, whānau-centred approach to pre-employment training.

The Bay of Plenty Youth Development Trust is known locally for its success with the Tauranga Boxing Academy, which forms a core part of the programme.

It will work with local employers to create employment pathways for young people in sectors such as construction, logistics and horticulture.

“Employers that engage with young people are making an investment in the future of their region and their businesses by securing access to a specially trained workforce,” says Jackson.

Imagine Believe Achieve general manager Rebecca Roe says the funding has enabled them to develop and deliver the programme, as well as employ staff.

Imagine Believe Achieve starts with a 13 week pre-employment programme which is then followed with up to a year of pastoral care and working with employers to ensure the youth stay employed and happy in their role, says Rebecca.

The programme aspires to develop whare tapa wha which is the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social welding of the youth involved, she says.

The first intake of 10 youth starts on June 22 and there will be further intakes about every four months, says Rebecca.

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