Thanks to Liam McLeavey the Provincial Growth Fund will bring some benefits to Horowhenua.
In the middle of the Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones' splash of cash announcement of $48 million for the Manawatū-Whanganui region there were a few lines about $50,000 going to the Horowhenua District Council for a feasibility study of the type and form of investment needed to support better education and employment outcomes for young people in Horowhenua.
The project is the brain child of Liam McLeavey, who applied for the money with help from the council.
"The project is aligned to Horowhenua District Council's increasing focus on successful transition to employment through its Horowhenua 2040 vision," said McLeavey.
"Our unemployment rate is staggeringly high – our NEET rate, which is disengaged young people from education, training and employment, is 19.4 per cent."
Mcleavey says Horowhenua has a growing job market that is diverse. "We need to ensure our people are work ready and able to take up the opportunity."
The announcement came in the middle of the 18-year-old's final high school exams, making it hard for him to concentrate on the more immediate tasks at hand.
"I want to improve employment outcomes for young people right here," he said about his application. "There will be significant stakeholder involvement and we will try and bring everyone together."
He said there would be a labour market analysis and he hoped the feasibility study would map the path from education to employment. The council wil administer the project.
"The transition to work isn't working locally. There are plenty of jobs and enough people looking for work but the two do not match up," said McLeavey.
"I am confident in the future of the district, but we need to make young people aware of the jobs that are available."
He expects a lot of consultants to be involved in the feasibility study and whatever follows on from that. He said his application linked in with the council objectives, hence the council's support for his application.
He expects the feasibility study will be completed in February. He hopes to be involved in the next phase of that project too, though by then he will be at university.