A King Country jobs and training initiative which has eliminated youth unemployment, provided more skilled workers and drastically reduced the local youth crime rate is being considered by Manukau mayor Len Brown.

The Super City candidate was in Otorohanga yesterday looking at the schemes, which have seen nil unemployment for its under-25s since November 2006.

The initiatives stemmed from businesses who told mayor Dale Williams in 2004 they would have to leave town unless they could find more skilled workers.

The group convinced the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) to open a trade training centre that would be driven by the district's employers offering pre-trades courses to prepare Otorohanga school leavers for apprenticeships.

It then created a new half-time job for apprentice support co-ordinator Ray Haley, who brings about 50 apprentices from around the district into the trade training centre for two hours each Wednesday night to help them with their workbooks, their practical work and "pastoral care".

Another initiative, known as MPowa, has an administrator who contacts school leavers in the district once a fortnight until they are in training or are employed.

Mr Brown believed the model could be transferred to Manukau, which has about 375,000 people. The programme could be used to track and assist around Manukau's most at-risk school leavers and, if successful, could be rolled out across Auckland.

He said it was "absolutely a core service" despite Local Government Minister Rodney Hide looking into law changes that would strip council spending back to core services rather than cultural, environmental and social spending.

"It's a potential big change for our community. We've got some challenges in terms of gaps with our youngsters and so many of them not connecting in," said Mr Brown.

He said Manukau had an unemployment rate of about 10 per cent and the majority of those were youth, numbering about 5000.

"That gives you an idea of the ... loss of potential in our community."

Mr Brown said the challenge now would be to get buy-in from social and education agencies and getting connectivity with schools and the more than 20,000 businesses in Manukau.

Mr Williams said his council had received approaches from at least 20 other communities throughout New Zealand who are looking at running similar schemes.

But despite a 75 per cent reduction in the number of youths arrested by police in the two years after the new initiatives began in 2005, funding for the schemes was cut in this year's budget when the Government's Enterprising Communities grant was axed.

Mr Williams has since won funding for a further year but the money will run out next June.

He will present his case to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Education Minister Anne Tolley next month as chairman of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.

"We need to get to a point where the Government acknowledges the value of these programmes for the results achieved and the next step beyond that should be a long-term and sustainable commitment," said Mr Williams.