Youth employment schemes revamped

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It is now easier for businesses to hire young people after the government announced it has opted to streamline its investment in youth employment and training programs.

The Job Streams package, which is budgeted at $62m per annum, is intended to consolidate the existing Work and Income NZ (WINZ) employment programs into two streams.

Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, said the new system was more flexible than the six existing schemes it will replace, and would make it easier for businesses to employ young people.

She said the Job Streams package, which will be available from 1 July this year, represented a fundamental change in the way the government invested in employment and training programs.

The Job Streams package will consist of two schemes:

  • Flexi-Wage: Flexible wage subsidies of up to a maximum of $21,060 per year, for those at the highest risk of staying on a benefit long-term. Employers will be able to use some of the funding for training, mentoring or in-work support.
  • Skills for Industry: Short, job-focused training for specific employment opportunities. Subsidy of up to $7,000 per person will be available.

Funding will not be linked to a set number of places but will instead be used flexibly across the whole package.

Bennett said the new system would allow WINZ case managers to better tailor arrangements to effectively meet the requirements of employers as well as the needs of individuals.

She said the Job Streams package would provide employers with a broader range of clients to work with, and added the subsidies available would be higher for people who faced greater difficulties in finding jobs.

 

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