Many more young New Zealanders will be helped into work and training with the expansion of the Mana in Mahi programme.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Employment Minister Willie Jackson made the announcement in Edgecumbe at Tunnicliffe Timber today.

A year on from its launch, Ardern and Jackson were in town visiting one of the 161 employers taking young people through the programme, to mark the expansion of Mana in Mahi, that was announced in the Wellbeing Budget.

Ardern spoke to Mana in Mahi participant Tipene Van Den Anker.


He was hoping to take his mum on holiday.

Tunnicliffe Timber co-owner Scott McCabe said one of the things that attracted them to Van Den Anker was his close relationship with his mum.

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"Mana in Mahi helps young New Zealanders get valuable sought-after skills and qualifications to kick start their career," Ardern said.

"Getting that first job and some relevant recognised qualifications is the first step in getting on the pathway to lifelong work."

Ardern said it would not only help the people taking part but would boost the businesses they were working with and help lift the economy overall.

Employment Minister Willie Jackson annouced the expansion in Edgecumbe today, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / File
Employment Minister Willie Jackson annouced the expansion in Edgecumbe today, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / File

"This is just one example of how this Government is tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand in order to ensure we have a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy that delivers for all New Zealanders," she said.

A $49.9 million boost extends the places available from 150 up to 2000, well on the way to the goal of 4000 places.

The programme, which was designed to provide employment and an industry training qualification pathway to young people on a benefit, saw employers receive a wage subsidy, at the annual Jobseeker Support rate, and support for work-readiness or pre-employment costs.


Young people got the chance to achieve a formal industry training qualification, such as an apprenticeship, and get paid while they train to do a job they love Jackson said.

"Employers told us taking on a trainee is a big commitment, especially for smaller businesses.

"Mana and Mahi helps employers with the costs of pre-employment and on-the-job training costs."

The Government wanted all New Zealanders to thrive, he said, and Mana in Mahi meant more employers could train and develop the next generation of skilled workers while growing the business at the same time.