Training scheme set up

A programme to help young people "avoid the dole" will be piloted in Dunedin next year.

The Malcam Charitable Trust, Otago Polytechnic and 4 Trades received a $45,000 grant for the pilot yesterday from the Dunedin City Council's industry project fund.

Project manager Andrew Kilsby, of the trust, said the money would go towards piloting an alternative youth employment and training scheme.

The 26-week programme would start in January and employ 15 to 20 young people.

The young people would be employed by the trust and put into workplaces for the equivalent of four days a week, and undergo training at the polytechnic for the fifth day.

"The ultimate goal is to avoid the dole. Dunedin should be the training and education capital of New Zealand," Mr Kilsby said.

Another aspect of the scheme involved a senior polytechnic student being offered to participating businesses for a 26-day period, to help with things such as building a website.

The programme would help break down barriers between employers and young people, and reduce youth disengagement in the city.

Employers would not "take a punt" on a younger person over an older equivalent, because they were seen as a greater risk, with less work experience.

However, it was "demeaning" for a young person to be paid less than an older person for doing the same job.

Mr Kilsby hoped the scheme would become a model for future youth training programmes.

"It's a damn sight cheaper to fund a wage subsidy than it is to fund the dole," he said.



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