Wage scheme helping people find new jobs

Ministry of Social Development work broker Emilia St Baker is keen to work with local job seekers...
Ministry of Social Development work broker Emilia St Baker is keen to work with local job seekers and employees from the MSD Mosgiel centre at 22 Factory Rd. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Connecting job seekers and employers, with the help of the Flexi-wage tool, is a major focus for the Ministry of Social Development.

Mosgiel-based MSD work broker Emilia St Baker said the Flexi-wage criteria was widened in February to include support for people ‘‘who are disadvantaged in the labour market’’, increasing the number of people who qualify.

‘‘When we work with local job seekers and employers to help people transition back into work and new roles, it’s helpful to have tools like Flexi-wage to support that process,’’ Miss St Baker said.

‘‘Looking at the overall picture, we have quite a lot of jobs going in the moment — across a broad range of areas, from labouring to accounts,’’ she said.

‘‘We have jobs on our books in the conservation field, hospitality, IT, seasonal work, labouring and administration.

‘‘It’s good to see businesses are up and running, and feeling positive enough to be looking for staff.’’

The number of people in Dunedin City on Job Seeker Support was 4212 at the end of the September quarter, compared to 4500 in the same period last year.

MSD Employment Group general manager Hugh Miller said interest in the expanded Flexi-wage scheme — a wage contribution that could also include training and ongoing in-work support — had been high.

Since February about 60 employers in Dunedin and Mosgiel have used Flexi-wage for the first time to take on new staff.

Flexi-wage supported 207 people into work in the area from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, compared to 135 people the previous year.

‘‘Flexi-wage will continue to play a key role in MSD’s efforts to support people into jobs,’’ Mr Miller said.

Miss St Baker said the scheme enabled the service to wrap around both the employer and the job seeker, as they worked to adapt and up-skill for their new role.

‘‘Anyone starting in a new role may need some extra time and training as they settle in, and this helps to make that a bit easier for everyone,’’ she said.

‘‘It can take time to grasp the day-to-day requirements of a role, so having a wrap-around service does help.’’

As New Zealand worked to deal with Covid-19 , many people were rethinking what they wanted to do for work and taking a new direction.

‘‘People are moving into industries they have not worked in before, or are taking on apprenticeships,’’ Miss St Baker said.

‘‘It’s important to put someone in a role that they are going to enjoy and stick with, so we provide all the support we can.’’

Alongside MSD offices in town, the Mosgiel centre at 22 Factory Rd aims to welcome job seekers of all ages and backgrounds.

‘‘People can come in and get advice on all the jobs available, as well as things like CVs and cover letters,’’ Miss St Baker said.

Employers who were looking for extra support were also welcome.

‘‘Come and have a chat if you don’t know where to start — we are happy to help point you in the right direction.’’


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