Mayor’s Taskforce For Jobs - Showcasing District Employment

Published on 12 February 2024


The Mayor’s Taskforce For Jobs (MTFJ) is celebrating another target-busting year of success in the Waitaki District. The programme, which supports young people into work and work placements, has exceeded its targets and achieved them in under 12 months. Between July 2021 and June 2022 MTFJ achieved 65 placements, when their target was 50. Out of these, 23 were apprenticeships.

Between July 2023 and June 2024, MTFJ placed 45 young people in apprenticeships or employment in 7 months – 7 more than their 12-month target.

Seventeen different industries were involved including mechanics, electricians, hospitality, engineering, builders, farm contracting, farming, butcher, panel beating and masonry.

What marks the programme out as different is that it is run locally, not from central Government. Funding has been provided from MSD, but it is local knowledge that has been instrumental in planning and delivering the programme.

Mayor Gary Kircher says: “The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is a fantastic example that local communities can often find local solutions to local problems. The government can learn from this and get much better outcomes for our youth and our employers by devolving responsibilities AND funding to local communities. By working with Waitaki’s high schools, our youth who aren’t in education or employment, and employers, we are ensuring our young people get the best start to their working lives.”

Sandra Familton of Workbridge and the MTFJ says: “We see the MTFJ as a valued link from school to local employers, working with the young people one on one and giving the pastoral care once they are in work for however long they need it.”

Eugen Dupu of Legacy Youth and the MTFJ coordinator says: “The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is probably the best example of our success. Each person coming in touch with us gets an individualised work plan which could involve family, business owner, employer, MSD and often other agencies related to their needs. The pastoral care element of the programme is benefitting both employers and job seekers”

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher visited Network Waitaki last Friday to catch up with one of the MTFJ supported apprenticeships, and try out their bucket lift.

Nathan Cunningham, Field Operation Manager at Network Waitaki said: “The scheme has put people forward we think can join Network Waitaki. Trent came through, and we saw the potential in him. He went into a trade assistant role, and is now an apprentice line mechanic. He’s about halfway through his time here to become fully qualified. Our apprentices have a nine-week training course at our depot, showing them how to work the bucket and Line trucks, change equipment on poles, and working at height’s. It’s great to work with young people, and see them gain experience and confidence to use in the field.”

Trent Woodford, who was placed at Network Waitaki by the MTFJ, says: “The MTFJ came into Waitaki Boys High School and I put my name forward for it, and they got me in and helped me with my C.V and license. That led me to Network Waitaki, I’m now halfway through my apprenticeship and things are going ok. I’m hoping to go as far as I can, get qualified as a line mechanic and possibly become a live line - line mechanic beyond that”

With the success of the programme, the Waitaki team will be seeking further funding from MSD to expand even further and provide more opportunities for work in the district to those entering the workforce for the first time.

The Mayor plans to visit Brad Williamson Racing and Riverstone Kitchen to catch up with employers and MTFJ workers and apprenticeships in the next few weeks.


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