Labour has a plan to give young people opportunity and hope. Our vision is that all young people who are able, will be in work, training or education, including through Ready for Work.
- give unemployed young people a job for six months doing work of public value, so they can gain work experience and avoid long-term unemployment.
Under Labour’s Ready for Work policy, all young people who have been on the Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Work Ready category for six months will be offered full-time employment for six months on environmental and community projects.
Ready for Work jobs will pay at least the minimum wage. Mentors employed by WINZ will assist in their training and work preparedness. This job experience will allow young people to make a valuable contribution to their community and earn an income, as well as fostering a work ethic and making them more attractive to employers.
Participants will be employed to do much needed environmental and community work that would not otherwise be carried out. It is anticipated many will work on Department of Conservation projects. DoC is struggling to meet its goals in the face of funding and staffing cuts. The area of land where pests are being controlled is falling and only 56% of tracks are maintained up to DoC standards. Councils and NGOs, too, have many important environmental and community projects that they would like to do but cannot do because the labour cost is prohibitive, such as riparian planting. WINZ will work with these groups to identify projects that meet these criteria.
With an estimated 10,000 participants per year, Ready for Work will cost $60m a year. This investment will result in large savings to the government and society over time. Labour will not abandon our young people, as National has.
Labour will get them back working and give them hope for the future.
Young people are being been left behind by National. 74,000 are not in employment, education or training. There are now 12,000 more people aged under 24 who are unemployed than there were eight years ago.
A young person who is not in employment, education or training is more likely to be unemployed for long periods in later life and more likely to have a lower income in the future. The lifetime cost to New Zealand as a whole of a young person being not in employment, education, or training is over $200,000 from lost productivity and income, higher benefit costs and low tax revenue.
On top of this, young people who become detached from the workforce are more likely to be involved in crime and have poor health outcomes.