Youth Opportunities Package

August 2nd, 2009 at 12:35 pm by David Farrar

has announced a $152 million package to fund almost 17,000 opportunities. Some of these are:

  • 4,000 6-month job placements for low-skilled young people with a $5,000 wage subsidy for employers
  • 3,000 placements for youth to work on community programmes for 30 hours a week, paid at minimum wage
  • 4,000 places in polytechs etc for 16 and 17 year olds not in schools, with no fees. This can be for stuff like literacy credits.
  • 2,500 places in Limited Service Volunteers courses on military-style 6-week training programmes
  • 1,600 summer scholarships for university students

The $152 million includes $32 million of 2009 Budget funding and $120 million from the 2009 – 2011 between budgets contingencies. This means no additional Government debt is incurred.

There are a lot of things I think the Government should not fund. But the economic (and human) return on this package could be significant if they increase the skills and employability of all those youth who are currently dropping out of school early, so I think it is a great wee package.

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38 Responses to “Youth Opportunities Package”

  1. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    All window dressing.

    None of these government schemes ever produce any real results.

    Give the money back to the people who earned it Mr. Key.

    Your whole approach is fundamentally wrong and based on an ideology that is decades past its use by date.

    Government is the problem not the solution.

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  2. pareto (22 comments) says:

    clearly the above comment is from a libertarian…..mate these schemes work, they are going to make a DIRECT impact to these kids who right now, have no future, have absolutely no job prospects and no skills. They become a burden to society, it gets them off the streets, its internalising the problem at its root. Great work, on the right track, would like to see a similar schemes for the older folks as well, but maybe without the income assistance. Up skilling is the key to making NZ more poductive!

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  3. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “clearly the above comment is from a libertarian…..”

    Ronald Reagan was a Republican not a Libertarian.

    These policies are just Soviet style rubbish.

    They never work. Just provide more opportunities for bureaucrats.

    The $152 million should be returned in tax cuts.

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  4. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Government is the problem not the solution…”

    look..!….red’s channeling reagan-cliches…!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  5. dion (95 comments) says:

    I think it’s great – as long as the placements and individuals are well matched. The last thing we want is to be throwing money at people who don’t care enough to drive their own success.

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  6. Rachael Rich (204 comments) says:

    Red, the idea of this is to get young people off the dole and experiencing work and hopefully developing a work ethic rather than one of entitlement.

    It is little things like this which will achieve your desire of decreasing the welfare state. I know people like you and Big Bruv would like to toss all the bennies out on the streets but doing that would only make Goofy the next PM.

    Things like this take time. As another Rachel once said “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen”.

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  7. Viking2 (11,565 comments) says:

    Over 26 weeks it is an implied subsidy of $192.30 per week. Given that the minimum rate is $12.50 an hour for 30 hours, ( apparently this is the normal working week for politicians and their ilk) that’s $375 per week less the subsidy plus all the other issues of ACC etc etc etc. Worse if that person is required by the operation to attend for more than 30 hours. At 40 hours,(normal working week), then the company has to front for $500.00 less the $192.00
    Now I consider training schemes good value but in a small workshop with one or two tradesmen it doesn’t work. The time that needs to be spent would outweigh the return of revenue and the days when we as small businesses could be altruistic in our approach to community good has long past. (Unfortunately). We are mostly struggling for our own survival. If we weren’t we would be employing these youngsters anyway.
    This is muddled thinking.
    If you want me to take on a learner,(after assessing his/her viability for the job), then you need to do much better than this.
    In my experience the first three months of a young person’s employment is almost without revenue value by the time training and all costs are considered. e.g. my tradesman are charged out at $60 per hour so if they take another half hour to do a task because they are training and supervising another untrained person who can and will inevitably make mistakes that amounts to $30 loss in revenue and increased costs of both lots of wages and expenses associated with those wages.

    If you want me to take part, and I am willing and able to, then you need to recognize my costs and assist me accordingly.

    You need to pay all the wage costs for the first month, and reduce the subsidy by 20% per month so at the end their is no subsidy. The alternative is that I won’t bother and if I need I will employ my current staff for a few more hours. They won’t mind. Even pay them under the table if needed.

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  8. MT_Tinman (3,257 comments) says:

    Shit Red, that’s twice I agree with you in one day.

    Normally your stuff is way too left for me.

    Are you making sense or am I mellowing?

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  9. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    They should send them to the glue factory and make a profit instead.

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  10. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Things like this take time. As another Rachel once said “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen”.”

    These things are something the Labour government would institute. I say again, they have been tried before, and always bring marginal results.

    As for “tossing the bennies out in the streets”, tax cuts would stimulate the economy and provide real jobs. Key’s policies are those that stem from the ideology that say government always knows best, and that policy has failed the world over.

    The policy with a record of success is this-

    “Government governs best when it governs least.”

    Nothing helps to develop a work ethic like starvation. You will not change the thinking of people who are socialists by implementing more socialist ideas.

    The real problem in NZ is the National Party’s inability to articulate or promote an alternative to socialism. For an example of how to do this take a look right now at how the Republican Party is fighting Obama’s health care plans. Calling it “socialized medicine”.

    The Nats cannot adopt such an approach becasue they are too politically confused to decide whether socialism is good or bad.

    How can you change the thinking of people when there are no other ideas out there for them to subscribe to?? National must take this opportunity to introduce those ideas. It can’t of course, because too few among them see things any differently to the Labour party.

    You want to change the thinking in NZ you take on the left in the education system and the media and the bureaucracy, and you beat them. Like Ronald Reagan did, and he brought decades of prosperity to the US after he had accomplished that victory.

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  11. Fale Andrew Lesa (473 comments) says:

    Too little too late, I won’t be expecting any Conservative progress from what some may think is a “Conservative leadership”.

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  12. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Packages like this will make a different for some of the intended audience but will, i fear, make little difference for the most ‘needy’. Those people don’t need external packages to encorage them to succeed, they need an internal replacement of their values system, and a course of anti-entitleitis medication.

    By way of example, a couple of years ago I did some work on a large services bid to MSD. Part of the proposal involved call centre systems and processes. I learned that MSD had (and still has?) outbound call centre staff who made daily calls to student/youth trainees who are too lazy to get out of bed for their state-funded training courses. It was within the MSD staff remit to organise a taxi to go to collect the lazy little !@#$’s if they were reluctant to make an effort to get to their course.

    Summary: these people are too lazy to even accept help when it’s offered, so simply providing more help (a la this package) isn’t the answer.

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  13. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    DPF:it is a great wee package

    Indeed it is.

    If the education system was better maybe it would not be needed.

    Some commenters and bloggers write off kids at 15 years old – what a disgrace. My own son hated school and left at 15 with his self-esteem at zero. He is now doing really well at tertiary. Everyone deserves a second chance.

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  14. big bruv (14,148 comments) says:

    $152 million dollars of our money being wasted by Neville Key.

    The only thing that “yoof” will learn from this is that the govt (any govt it seems) will toss money at you and there is no real need to educate yourself, better yourself, improve your chances in life because Auntie Helen, Uncle Neville or some other fucking pinko will always provide.

    I am sick and tired of paying for lazy bastards, I am sick and tired of paying for votes for Neville Key from swinging voters, it is about time that the MSM started exposing Key for the fraud and blatant liar that he is.

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  15. Viking2 (11,565 comments) says:

    big bruv; Ruth is certainly correct. Not everyone thrives at school and certainly that is true for boys who would rather be engineers or digger drivers or whatever. Shearer’s even. Doesn’t mean they won’t learn, doesn’t mean they won’t work hard and contribute. When you left school you went to work for someone and they trained you.
    In my earlier post I made the point that employers just cannot carry young people anymore as the margins are just not there unless you are a Govt Dept. or contract to one.
    Key needs to give more thought to assisting employers in small businesses to train. They tend to have a lot of skills and on a one to one are good for young people.
    There is nothing new in this scheme as far as employers are concerned as I have been availing ourselves of this training allowance for the last three years. Just another extension of Labour Policy.
    Now DPF will have an apoplexy for sure but I have had the trainees, subsidized in my workplace.
    Another thumbs down for the Nats. I’m afraid.

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  16. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    It is good to see National actually doing something for a change. They’re whole approach to the recession so far has been to sit on their hands and let the market take its course.

    All of the schemes will “keep a few yoofs off the streets” (not to mention that they are useful for shoring up the grumpy vote.) The community work scheme is solely about keeping them busy and doesn’t actually offer yoof much (other than more money in the pocket). The job placements are probably the most useful part of the policy.

    Even in good times it is a risk hiring a young, unskilled person. Meanwhile many young people end up trapped in a situation where they can’t get a job because they lack experience and can’t get experience because they can’t get a job. Some good workers will get the break that they need through this scheme and may be retained at the end of the six months by their employer. Hopefully all participants will get skills and experience to help them in the job market. Another bonus is that employment is a habit (just like loafing on welfare) and hopefully many of them will pick this up.

    For this to work though the amount of dough has to be enough for employers to take on the risk and offset the cost of extra trainng and supervision. It also has to be enough to ensure that additional people are being employed who wouldnt have been employed without the scheme. Otherwise youths will just end up taking jobs from older people.

    I don’t know how effective boot camps really are for anything other than looking tough, but the boot camps are useful from one perspective. Its not so bad with the recession making them a more attractive option, but usually the armed forces struggle to recruit people. If some people are encouraged to stay on and join the military after being exposed to army life, then that is a good outcome.

    More targetted assistance will be needed but this is a welcome change of approach that hopefully isn’t just window dressing.

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  17. thedavincimode (6,875 comments) says:

    That no doubt made the Big Magpie’s pulse rocket and his claws go clammy until he re-read it and saw the word “youth”.

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  18. whalehunter (479 comments) says:

    pissing in the wind.

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  19. whalehunter (479 comments) says:

    fix the schools and the countries’ productivity.

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  20. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    Yep, good that they have recognised this as a major social issue. Personally I’d like to see more community/local employment initiatives and more support for tertiary and trades education, which has what has been happening in Australia, though realistically i know it goes against the Nat grain. Maybe the good example (which seem to be yielding economic and social benefits) set by Rudd and Obama is influencing NZ.

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  21. Richard Hurst (871 comments) says:

    Its unnecessary window dressing. Temporary Govt schemes can never replace real economic growth and real opportunities that economic growth provides for all ages.

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  22. wikiriwhis business (4,119 comments) says:

    “Nothing helps to develop a work ethic like starvation. ”

    Seems to me that’s the attitude that inspired the French Revolution

    I’m no lefty, but it seems that a govt needs to be seen to doing something.

    This inititive is what I meant when I said Bootcamps need to be supplemented with education.

    But I never envisioned the new govt would go this far in assisting youth with education.

    I say bouquet.

    the ones who don’t want to benefit will end up in boot camp while the majority will train for their future.

    I just know Kiwi kids will dive into this ocean of opportunuity fully clothed.

    I get the feeling some people would have dumped on PEP and that was hugely successful and why I believe this will be.

    Kiwi’s don’t change.

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  23. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Getting schools to teach kids how to read and write properly might be a good start to increasing the opportunities for yoof.

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  24. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    I did note that Labour said this was good “but didn’t go far enough”. Where were they for the last nine years as 40% of kids leave secondary school functionally illiterate?

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  25. freedom101 (509 comments) says:

    There’s an old saying in politics that if something’s doing well then regulate and tax it and if it fails then subsidise it.

    Many people commenting on this posting have pointed out that it simply doesn’t pay to employ unskilled young workers. This is an economic fact; simply outgoings are higher than revenue – pretty simple really. The government has ramped up the minimum wage in the face of this economic reality, and imposed other employment costs – Employment Relations Act, etc etc etc etc. Result: rapidly increasing youth unemployment (wow, I would never have guessed this would happen!!).

    The scheme announced by John Key is PR only as it will just touch the surface of the problem. In this I agree with the lefties and union officials.

    The solution to youth unemployment is (1) abolish the minimum wage for under 20s, (2) allow a 6 month waiting period before ERA protection kicks in (3) get the education system working through parental choice (vouchers) and standards measurement (a tick for the government here).

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  26. Richard Hurst (871 comments) says:

    freedom101- you’ve got my vote!

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  27. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    @ freedom101 your (1) should just read “abolish the minimum wage”. As long we have an unemployment benefit there is a “minimum wage” without the need to regulate the market.

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  28. freedom101 (509 comments) says:

    Kiwigreg. You are right re completely abolishing the minimum wage. I was trying to propose something that might bring a reasonable percentage of public support along with it. The Nats do have to try and get re-elected, which is a significant constraint on good policy under MMP.

    Having a national minimum wage is a joke anyway as the labour market in Newmarket is different from Dipton (as the Bill English would know!). Why have one price?

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  29. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    @freedom101 “The Nats do have to try and get re-elected” I wonder how many folk making the minmum wage are in the core voting constituency?

    Why have national welfare “entitlement” levels for the same reason. Given the depopulation of the south island and the proven responsiveness of welfare beneficiaries to market signals this could be a real opportunity.

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  30. EverlastingFire (286 comments) says:

    What about the already trained youth? You know, those ones that actually got off their arse and got qualifications?

    My cousin is 22 and has a degree. She’s been working her arse off trying to get a job in anything for over a month now with little to no success.

    Nevermind pandering to these so-called disadvantaged people that we generalize in society. The government has done FA for the people that actually went out there and got qualifications to get a job and get ahead. These are the pro-active people that should be focused on.

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  31. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Actually, the larger of these “new” schemes are more targeted refinements of the wage subsidy schemes introduced by National 18 years ago.

    JobOpps = Job Plus.

    Community Max = Community Taskforce and Taskforce Green.

    IIRC, the existing schemes cost the taxpayer the same as the unemployment benefit, but the recipient works.

    The best thing about them is that they provide a short-term means to move into employment without the crippling abatement rates.

    Just throwing a fact or two out there.

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  32. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    “The solution to youth unemployment is (1) abolish the minimum wage for under 20s,”

    Yup – lower wages are always a good way of motivating people to get off the dole.

    “The best thing about them is that they provide a short-term means to move into employment without the crippling abatement rates.”

    No the best thing about them is they are another signal that the 1980s are back – recession, work schemes, coups in Latin America and incrasing numbers of emos/goths. Soon I’m going to (a) feel right at home and (b) will be enjoying current music again.

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  33. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Sam…..the taxpaying adults are talking….piss off and don’t come back till you are one.

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  34. hubris (208 comments) says:

    Just throwing a fact or two out there.

    Haven’t seen one of those around here for a while. How refreshing.

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  35. a3catlady (58 comments) says:

    This could be a good start – I think eliminating eligibility for the dole for 16 & 17 yr olds (that was part of this wasnt it? or am I being too hopeful) is a really good thing – no money for nothing – next step is to raise that minimum age of eligibility again and cap the number of years anyone can claim a benefit. (rant rant)
    At any rate over half the problem with the “marginal workforce” in my experience is their inability to take instruction from a superior, lack of respect for and ability to work with other team members, and their lack of understanding that just because we have had the courage to employ them doesnt mean they know diddly squat about the work/business they have been employed into and they need to shut their mouths and LEARN.
    All three issues are ones which keep otherwise potentially productive people out of the work force and on the dole, as any employer in their right mind wouldnt bother with that crap. So encouraging sensible employers to take a punt, MAY be a useful step in the right direction. I still want to see Benefits capped in terms of time people can claim them over a lifetime, as someone earlier said nothing like the thought of starvation to motivate a work ethic.

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  36. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    “Sam…..the taxpaying adults are talking….piss off and don’t come back till you are one.”

    Thanks for that very adult response. If you can let me know how I can regain my childhood or stop paying tax I’d be very interested.

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  37. Agent Smith (31 comments) says:

    Sounds like a bloody good idea to me, it half fixes the issue I have with people being eligible to sit on thieir often fat, definitely lazy asses and have the taxpayer pick up the tab, while those moving on to tertiary study have to borrow to live unless their parents are dirt poor (we’re talking Kenny poor).

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  38. Peter2715626 (24 comments) says:

    Very bad idea. It is not a government role to pick up winners in the labour market.

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