Youth Employment Plus has was officially launched at the Rotorua Youth Centre on the 16th of July by the Minister of Employment the Honourable Willie Jackson in front of esteemed guests, funding and service delivery partners and more.

The Government has allocated $14.79 million to pathways to “vulnerable communities” for education, skills training, pre-employment and job pathway projects across the country.

Just under half of this funding was put into Bay of Plenty organisations such as the Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust.

The Youth Employment Plus – Rotorua project received a boost through He Poutama Rangatahi to connect youth with employers and support them to develop the skills to gain and sustain employment. He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) is a pilot initiative that supports rangatahi aged 15-24 who are most at risk of long-term unemployment and who are not in education, employment or training.

During his visit to the Rotorua Youth Centre, Willie Jackson was interviewed on the youth centres very own ‘for youth by youth’ radio station POWER 88.3, a youth run community radio station giving youth a stronger voice in the community while equipping them with essential skills and experience for employment. The Minister of Employment was interviewed by of our youth announcers, 15 year old Logan where he congratulated the Rotorua Youth Centre for being a part of the solution to youth unemployment.

“For the people here in Rotorua, the funding will contribute to the provision of wrap around services for young people who might not have had too much of an opportunity,” Mr Jackson said. “Some of those people have been on benefit, some of them have come from tough backgrounds, and basically, this is a chance for them to get some training, we are hoping that they will get in to work, but to just give them an opportunity.

“We are doing this type of work all around the country under the umbrella of He Poutama Rangatahi, which is a vehicle for young people or for all groups of people who mightn’t have had a chance in life.

“This is about getting in behind young people, getting them the necessary life skills, looking at employment opportunities, getting them prepared for the future.

“My fervent hope for Rotorua young people, is that they (young people) will get opportunity, particularly those who have not had opportunity, to get active, motivated and take a chance!”

Mr Jackson even participated in a fun word association game with us. To see what he thinks about Winston Peters, Jacinda Ardern, Donald Trump and more watch the full interview here: