6 ways we're supporting Kiwis into work

You might have heard that New Zealand’s unemployment rate is down to 3.2% – and that record numbers of Kiwis have been moving off the benefit and into work. We’re proud that our efforts to strengthen the job market, upskill our workforce, and support local businesses are paying off as we continue with our COVID recovery.

Here are just six of the ways we’re helping people into work:

He Poutama Rangatahi

Our He Poutama Rangatahi programme connects rangatahi not currently in work, training or employment with job opportunities. It has already supported more than 3,100 young people into employment, education or training, with more than 2,200 of those rangatahi moving into jobs.

Now, as part of our plan to secure our recovery, we’re further expanding the programme, so we can support almost a thousand more rangatahi to overcome barriers to work and education and get the skills they need for their future.

Apprenticeship Boost

We established Apprenticeship Boost to help employers take on and keep apprentices through COVID-19, creating work opportunities and filling skill gaps as we continue our recovery. The programme has supported more than 40,300 apprentices since it was launched in 2020, backing them and their employers to succeed. Last March, we announced that the programme would be extended through to August 2022 – because it works.

This is on top of our free trades training and apprenticeships initiative, which we also launched in 2020. Already, nearly 185,000 people have taken up free courses in key skills-shortage areas through the scheme, helping to grow the skilled workforce we need for our multibillion-dollar infrastructure programme and to support our economy.


We promised to expand Flexi-wage to support more people into work – and we delivered. Flexi-wage is a programme that supports businesses to take on new workers who may need a bit of extra training or support. We made good on our election commitment to expand the programme last February and, since then, more than 11,190 people have been placed into employment.

Māori Trades and Training Fund

As part of our COVID response, we launched the Māori Trades and Training Fund to help Māori jobseekers into jobs and training and to support businesses to take on apprentices. The fund is unique in the wrap-around support it offers jobseekers from a te ao Māori world view. Investments through the fund have seen communities across the country benefit, with hundreds of tangata whenua supported to learn new skills.

Mana in Mahi

Mana in Mahi partners with businesses to support long-term unemployed people into work and apprenticeships, giving young New Zealanders sought-after skills and qualifications. The programme has helped nearly 4,500 people into work since its launch in 2018.

Jobs for Nature

Jobs for Nature is a programme that does double duty: restoring and protecting our unique ecosystems, while also creating jobs in our regions to support our COVID recovery.

At the end of September 2021, Jobs for Nature had created employment – full time, part time, or contract – for 5,698 people, and upward of 2,400 people were actively employed. More great projects are joining the Jobs for Nature programme all the time: just this month, funding has been announced for a number of freshwater clean-up projects across the motu that will create up to 243 jobs.


These are just some of the ways we’re growing jobs and supporting Kiwis into work as we secure our COVID recovery. There’s more to do to ensure that as we rebuild our economy, we come out COVID stronger than ever – but as these six initiatives show, we’re on the right track.

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