'Mana in Mahi': The Govt's new apprenticeship for the dole scheme

Drive 09/08/2018
Photo: Getty.

An apprenticeship for the dole scheme has been announced by the Government.

Called Mana in Mahi - Strength in Work, the scheme will apply to young people aged 18 to 24 years who have spent six or more months on a benefit.

It will subsidise the employer to the equivalent of the benefit, with the employer required to top it up to at least the minimum wage.

Twelve percent of 15 to 24 year olds were not in employment, education or training (NEET) in May, according to Statistics NZ. It's those young people the scheme will focus on.

It was a Labour Party election policy promise to "ensure all young people who are able, are in work, training or education".

A 'dole for apprenticeships' scheme was part of that plan, but original policy would have it apply to young people on a benefit for three or more months, rather than six.

“We’re quite excited by it. We’ve had really good feedback from across the spectrum and we’re working with some of these young people,” Employment Minister Willie Jackson told RadioLIVE Drive.

“We think a lot of these young people have got a lot of promise and we want to encourage and support them, and give them an opportunity to gain qualifications for life.”

But there was something of warning from the head of trades at Manukau Institute of Technology on Thursday morning.

"The Government will need to make sure the system of subsidies aren't exploited, because there will be employers out there, unfortunately, who may use it as an opportunity to get cheap labour," Paul Hollings said on The AM Show.

Mana in Mahi will start with a 150 person pilot, expanding to 4000 people next year.

Listen to the full interview with Willie Jackson above.

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