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Mana in Mahi: Strength in Work

Mana in Mahi - Strength in Work is a new initiative that will help thousands of young Kiwis get into real jobs and gain valuable, sought-after skills and qualifications.

We're supporting young people, while also addressing skill shortages and encouraging employers to give young people a chance. 

For young people and employers across New Zealand, Mana in Mahi provides a pathway to meaningful work and valuable skills for young people, and a great future for New Zealand.


For young people

We're committed to getting young people working full-time and learning valuable skills.

10.9% of 15-24 year olds are not in employment, education or training, and it’s around 15% for Māori and Pacific people. While this has gone down, there's still so much we can do for young people.

It can be hard to get a job, especially one that offers a career path and an opportunity to learn and grow on the job.

While existing programmes may be effective for some, they do not work for all young people. People getting apprenticeships now usually already have some qualifications and work experience – which unemployed young people often don’t have.

Mana in Mahi - Strength in Work is designed to help people who have been on a benefit for six months or more, particularly those aged 18-24, to get into real paid jobs, and gain valuable qualifications.

People taking part will not only gain real-world skills and experience, they'll also work towards industry-recognised qualifications, receiving support from their employer and help from the government to cover the costs of training. 

This initiative will include different pathways to achieve industry-training qualifications, not only New Zealand Apprenticeships.

Depending on the industry, participants will have the option to enter straight into a Level 4 qualification, or a lower level qualification with a clear pathway to work towards a Level 4 qualification.

Young people will have a strong voice in helping us develop Mana in Mahi further - we know it’s got to work for them first and foremost, to help them develop the skills they need to succeed.


For employers

We know this scheme also has to work for employers. We will be working closely with the employers involved to find new and improved ways of helping young people succeed and employers to recruit the right people.

We’ve listened to employers who tell us it’s hard to find people with the right skills, and that getting them trained is a big commitment for an employer, especially for our smaller and mid-sized businesses.

Mana in Mahi - Strength in Work will pay a wage subsidy to employers willing to hire a person receiving a main income support benefit, and offer that person an industry training qualification.

This will help cover the real costs businesses face taking on a young person and getting them trained up, and will encourage employers to give young people on a benefit a chance.

We’re deliberately starting small so we can learn what works best. At this stage we’re working with four employer groups, and have 40 places available. 

We see Mana in Mahi working well across a range of industries, and that’s reflected in the employer groups taking part at this early stage. It’s exciting to see such a diverse range of employers taking part, and being willing to offer our young people such a great opportunity.


Mana in Maha Strength in Work is a win-win - helping our young people get off the benefit and enjoy the dignity of work while encouraging employers to take on apprentices they might otherwise not have trained.