Kiwi Can Do has been launched in Palmerston North.

KCD managing director Iain Morrison and KCD chair Dame Fran Wilde introduced the programme that 'staircases unemployed into entry-level construction jobs'.

"They are inspired to get out of bed in the morning," Morrison said.

KCD has been developing the programme with the Ministry of Social Development Industry Partnership team over the past five years.

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Morrison says KCD is supported by the Construction Industry Trade members including Masterpainters NZ and the Wall and Ceiling Industries.

KCD Wellington area manager Josh Hollis said the programme was for those on a Job-Seeker benefit who were matched with the trades' industry.

He said the three-week residential programme builds confidence.

"They dip their toe in," Hollis said.

Morrison added KCD has no pens, pencils or classrooms.

"KCD employs "old-school" tradesmen as the tutors/mentors to provide hands-on training.

"The programme is getting the thumbs-up from unemployed wanting an entry-level job and needing help to make the first rung on the employment ladder."

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Morrison said the tutors, dubbed 'Dad's Army', were a small but growing paid workforce of actively retired tradesmen who were finding their second wind.

"They are relishing the opportunity to pass on their life-time skills to the next generation."

The programme strips away barriers to employment.

Morrison said the three-week programme aims to build confidence and get beneficiaries work-ready, to turn up on time every day, put in an honest day's work and become part of a team.

They are drug-tested, Site Safe qualified, driving licence upgraded and provided with safety gear.

"A positive attitude and a genuine desire to get a job are the key elements KCD recruiters look for when selecting for the courses."

The closest residential hub is in Naenae but negotiations were underway for a hub to be set up in the Manawatū.

MSD central regional commissioner Katie Brosnahan said most people wanted to be working.

"They just need support to be work ready."

There were 49 people from the central region who had joined KCD at the Wellington hub in Naenae.

"For some people this was the first graduation where they have been acknowledged," Brosnahan said.

Mayor Grant Smith, who hosted the launch, said attitude was key to making the change.