Two Whanganui organisations have received Government funding to work with people facing barriers to employment, including education, skills and methamphetamine use.
On Friday Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced Government funding of $12.2 million for regional education and skills training, which will be taken from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund.
"Te Ara Mahi is just one of the many ways this Government is supporting the regions, from direct investment from the Provincial Growth Fund and through the $3 billion for shovel-ready infrastructure projects to funding for regional apprenticeships and worker redeployment," Jones said.
"These projects will increase the number of people enrolled in PGF-funded skills and employment programmes from the 11,090 I announced last month to around 13,150."
In Whanganui, Wai Ora Christian Community Trust in Aramoho will receive $800,000 for its E Tu Tangata programme. It will work with around 30 people and focus on those who face multiple barriers to employment.
Te Awanui a Rua Charitable Trust will also receive $752,990 for its Taumarunui Primary Education and Employment Campus programme, which offers industry training and pathways to employment.
Jones announced a further $6.7 million in funding to go to nine programmes around the country to address "the terrible toll meth is taking on people in the regions, their families and whānau, and communities".
Te Oranganui in Whanganui will receive $900,000 to run Te Toronga Whānau, a programme that will increase its capacity to provide addiction services.
The programme aims to provide health and wellbeing services that address drugs as a barrier to employment, and the effect it has on whānau and communities.
Providers such as Te Oranganui work alongside their communities, Jones said, incorporating strategies like improved access to treatment, drop-in hubs, kaupapa Māori approaches, peer support and after-hours support.
"Businesses across New Zealand have told us it is difficult to employ people with drug problems.
"Particularly in our current economic climate, it is important that regional businesses have reliable workforces, and it is also incredibly important for people to have the tools to deal with addiction so that they can get and keep jobs."