So today I am pleased to announce a new initiative to further support the rebuild and at the same time help job-seeking beneficiaries outside the region gain work.
It’s called ‘$3k to Christchurch’, and it has two parts.
The first part is Work and Income actively promoting through advertising and direct marketing, job opportunities in Christchurch and surrounding districts to beneficiaries outside the region.
This will involve staff discussing with beneficiaries if moving is an option, and looking at whether their skills and a job in Canterbury can be matched up.
The second part is providing a lump-sum, one-off $3000 payment to beneficiaries interested in moving to Christchurch or surrounding districts who gain a confirmed job offer.
To be eligible, a beneficiary would need proof of a confirmed full-time job offer of at least 30 hours a week and for more than 91 days.
Sounds a good initiative. Getting people into work is excellent.
- Beneficiaries will not be required to provide proof of costs.
- The money will be paid in one lump sum, and it will be non-taxable and exempt from any income and asset tests.
- In most circumstances the payment would be non-recoverable, but situations where it may have to be repaid would be for cases like misconduct leading to dismissal.
- The offer will be open to all ages who are on benefits, but with a particular focus on those aged 18 to 24.
Non-taxable makes it more attractive.
The apprenticeship reboot I announced in January last year was so successful that by October, 8000 people throughout the country had signed up for training in apprenticeship programmes.
That happened in the space of just seven months – when the normal sign-up rate for a full year was 7000.
Because of this demand, in December last year we expanded the reboot to a total of 14,000 places. And they too have been filling up quickly.
Today, I am pleased to announce that the scheme will be expanded again because of continuing high demand.
Budget 2014 will provide up to $20 million to expand the Apprenticeship Reboot by 6000 places.
This move will boost the total number of places to 20,000.
This extension means we have doubled the number of apprentices that can get their training costs subsidised since the scheme was first announced.
Both are about helping young people get into work. The first job is often the most important one.