3 Aug 2009

PM confident programe will help jobless youth

6:48 pm on 3 August 2009

Prime Minister John Key insists a programme to help jobless young people is workable and practical.

The $152 million scheme, announced at the annual conference of the National Party on Sunday, includes subsidised work, education and training for up to 16,900 unemployed young people.

The plan has been criticised for subsidising youth employment but not adult, merely shifting joblessness betwen the generations.

Its plan to take the Independent Youth Benefit away from most people on the scheme has also been faulted.

But Mr Key says leaving people on this benefit does not really help them and many companies would benefit from hiring young people, thereby creating employment.

The plan has also been welcomed by many, including Manukau Mayor Len Brown, who says his city needs schemes such as these and will make the most of them.

Mountaineer turned youth motivator Graeme Dingle says the scheme is vital because too many unemployed youngsters are wasting their time and losing confidence.

Stuart Middleton of the Manukau Institute of Technology, says there are 17,000 to 25,000 people between 16 and 24 who are doing nothing because they have no training and are unattractive to employers.

Wellington High School principal Prue Kelly says some young people drop out of school before they become eligible for the scheme.

Ms Kelly says training can be expensive for those aged 16 to 18, who are struggling with training without any income.