Government funds tourism worker retraining scheme

The Government will provide $1.4million to kick-start a scheme to help unemployed Lakes district tourism workers move into new fields.

The funding — part of a $36.72million primary sector workforce package to regions hard hit economically by Covid-19 — was announced by economic development minister Phil Twyford and regional economic development minister Shane Jones yesterday.

The package would "help address the shortfall of workers in the primary sector nationally by reskilling workers and attracting new workers by building career pathways", the ministers said.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult welcomed the announcement and expected it to assist the council’s initiative, "loosely entitled In The Wild", intended to retrain unemployed people in "nature-based" jobs such as clearing wilding pines, gorse and broom, reducing pest numbers and creating and maintaining cycle and walking trails.

"A large number of the people who will be without a job are actually used to working in the outdoors, particularly a lot of the outdoor tourism folk.

"So this is not a foreign environment to them."

Mr Boult said there was a "massive amount" of good, constructive work to be done in the district.

The council had been "framing up" the plan, but had spent no money on it, he said.

He expected the money to pay workers involved in the scheme would come from Government.

A spokeswoman for Mr Twyford’s office said information provided to the Government by the council indicated it was working alongside the Department of Conservation, the Otago Regional Council and the primary sector to identify what conservation jobs were available locally, as well as "... within the agricultural industry which is seeking dairy farm workers and drivers".

mark.price@odt.co.nz

Comments

Are these people locals or here on work visas? If the latter they should be on planes home NOT costing us more money.

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