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Best foot forward for funding

The Nga Pumanawa Tupuna (the strengths & talents of the ancestors’) initiative, a joint venture between The Youth Education, Training, and Employment partnership (YETE), The Wairarapa Rural Education Action Programme (REAP), and the three Wairarapa councils this week submitted their application to the Provincial Growth Fund for assistance.

The initiative will target (predominantly but not exclusively) at-risk rangatahi Maori and build the skills, attitudes, habits and confidence they need to effectively transition into further education or training or directly into employment.

Local businesses met recently to discuss workforce planning and a common issue was the increased difficulty in finding work ready applicants - this initiative will help address that.

Funding has been sought for two years, to target the development of up to 60 rangatahi per year from across the Wairarapa. Each rangatahi will be provided with ongoing intensive mentoring and other support.

Project lead Tom Hullena said; “The programme will be built on aspects of tikanga Maori and will include a strong focus on how to be successful in the workplace. A key part of the implementation will involve strengthening the capabilities of employers/businesses to work with young people and rangatahi Maori.”

“We know our NEET (not in education, employment or training) numbers are concerning – across the region”, said Lyn Patterson, Mayor of Masterton District Council. “Data we have suggests a Wairarapa average of 19.4% - with Masterton at 24%; Carterton at 13.2%; and South Wairarapa at 21%. New Zealand’s average according to MBIE is 12%. So, this initiative is a huge priority for us all and we’ve high hopes of it making a good-sized dent.”

Supporting YETE to obtain long term funding to increase their capabilities is prioritized in the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy, and the Governance Group comprising of all the regions mayors, iwi and business representatives prepared a letter of support submitted along with the application.

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