Government announces Job Streams   14 Jun 2012

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced a simpler, more flexible business-focused package of employment programmes.

“We are doing more of what works, less of what doesn’t and making it easier for businesses to hire young people,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Rather than spread employment support thinly across all groups, this approach will target those most at risk of remaining on welfare long term.”

Job Streams, costing $62 million for the next year, consolidates Work and Income employment programmes such as Job Ops and Straight to Work into two streams:

• Flexi-Wage: flexible wage subsidies up to a maximum of $21,060 per year for those at highest risk of staying on benefit long-term. Employers can 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.

“Job Streams represents a fundamental change in the way we invest in employment and training programmes,” Mrs Bennett says.

Funding will not be linked to a set number of places but rather allocated to the Job Streams package to be used flexibly across the two streams.

“This will allow Work and Income to tailor the package to employer’s requirements and an individual’s needs ensuring that the funding is used where it can make the most difference,” says Mrs Bennett.

Priority will be given to young people who are at high risk of long-term benefit dependence from 1 July this year, while sole parents subject to new work obligations from October will also qualify.

(New Zealand Government)

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