This week Labour announced a significant policy package to ensure that all New Zealanders under the age of 20 are in work, education or training.
My team and I have had just over 8500 personal conversations with people in Christchurch Central and I know that this is the stuff that people really care about.
Young people want opportunities for training and jobs. Parents and grandparents want to ensure opportunities exist for their children and grandchildren to get ahead.
Currently 75,000 young New Zealanders aged 15-24 are not in work, education or training. This amounts to a rate of more than 11 percent, which is double the unemployment rate for the rest of the population. 45% of our total unemployed are youth – the highest percentage of any youth population in the OECD.
Labour will invest $183 million in a comprehensive Youth Employment Package. We will encourage young New Zealanders to move off the unemployment benefit and into apprenticeships by paying the equivalent of the dole ($9100) to employers willing to offer a permanent full time job. And we will develop a National Careers Strategy and increase funding for career guidance in schools.
This Youth Employment Package will reach the 24,000 young New Zealanders under the age of 20 who are not in work, education or training.
This is a policy that has particular significant for Canterbury – a region that desperately needs skilled people who are trained to help us rebuild our city. It’s what should have been put in place four years ago.
Labour is committed to supporting New Zealanders into work. This will include a particular focus on giving young people a pathway to realising their full potential. To do this we need a world class skills training system that meets the needs of workers, employers and the economy.
A world class skills training system that meets the needs of Canterbury and the rebuild.