Study highlights areas of concern

New statistics show the Hawke's Bay region to be lagging behind national growth in many areas of social and economic development.

While they show some increases above national trends, others highlight a region with slowed population growth, lagging increases in life expectancy, and high levels of unemployment.

The figures were collected as part of the McGredy Winder & Co Prosperity Study, released on Monday. Overall the report describes Hawke's Bay's development, compared to other regions, as "slightly below average".

Education statistics were mixed. The growth of school leavers with level 2 and above qualifications left the Bay ranked 13th out of 16 regions across the country, but both tertiary education students and Maori tertiary education figures were above national trends. Total school enrolments were slower than the national increase.

The report states the region suffers from a "rapidly ageing labour-force, high levels of unemployment, lower than average levels of educational achievement and a sizeable group of the current labour force not effectively engaged in the formal economy" as well as "limited opportunities to find meaningful employment".

It could face a skilled labour shortage in future if people continued leave for university, but the report heaped praise on EIT's role as a bridge between secondary school and work or further trade education.

It suggested creating training for jobs there were a clear demand for, jobs which could be created through other initiatives the report proposed. The EIT Trade Academy and Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Memorandum of Understanding with Massey University were two examples listed but these were separate, small scale initiatives that require investment to be aligned.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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