Almost $7m to get Northland youth into employment and training

The Government is putting almost $7 million into getting young Northlanders into jobs and improving their digital, work and life skills training.

The latest tranche of funding for the region from the Provincial Growth Fund was made in announcements in Whangārei and Kaikohe on Friday by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson.

In Whangārei the pair announced $3.88 million for a range of digital, work and life skills training for young unemployed people in Northland, while in Kaikohe they announced $3 million over three years in the Accelerating our Capability programme, which supports Kaikohe locals who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The Whangārei funding includes $2.5 million for He Poutama Taitamariki (HPT); $990,000 for the NGEN Room, run by the He Puna Marama Trust and $396,000 for the Life Talk (Kamo Driving School).

Collectively the three programmes will support over 800 rangatahi and will be funded through the He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) programme, which aims to support young people, aged 15 to 24, who are not currently in employment, education or training to overcome barriers to get them into work.

"Both NGEN Room and Life Talk have a digital technology focus. Northland has a number of young people with few or no qualifications, who are interested in the digital sector through gaming but lack basic coding skills or the motivation, confidence or networks required to pursue qualifications or employment in this area," Jones said.

"NGEN Room is a 12-month digital technology programme for 16-24-year-old rangatahi and combines life skills, NCEA credits (level 1-3), and work experience.

"Life Talk is a 12-week programme that builds digital skills within the context of broader life and work skills development, including driver licensing. It combines digital skills training with local web developers, as well as work experience with local employers – both digital and non-digital based on the needs of participants. Both projects also provide ongoing pastoral care to support participants during training and beyond.''

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