The strong and growing New Zealand job market provides great opportunities to get more Kiwis into life-long careers, say Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse.

The Ministers announced the release today of the 2016 update of the ‘Building Skilled and Safe Workplaces’ chapter of the Business Growth Agenda, which contains 55 current and 12 new initiatives to build sustainable careers and grow productivity in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand economy has added 35,000 more jobs in the last quarter alone,” says Mr Joyce. “We now have the second highest employment rate in the entire OECD.  This gives us a great platform to work with employers and other stakeholders to lift employment for people of all ages to levels we haven’t seen before.”

“The Building Skilled and Safe Workplaces work programme is vital to the modern New Zealand economy. By strengthening our employment and workplace health and safety regulatory systems, we will increase the productivity of New Zealand and our labour force participation,” says Mr Woodhouse.

Some of the 12 new initiatives include working with university business schools to introduce entrepreneurship courses, and driver licensing initiatives to ensure employers have access to the labour force they need, and to increase the work-readiness of young people.

“One of the initiatives is the new Sector Workforce Engagement Programme – which is designed to improve employers’ access to skilled local workers. The programme works with employers in particular sectors and regions where there are skill shortages, and brings more young people and those on benefits into not just a job but a long-term career,” says Mr Joyce.

The updated ‘Building Skilled and Safe Workplaces’ chapter builds on the 33 projects that the government has already completed over the past two years in the skills section of the BGA.

“There have been some notable successes, including a 33 per cent increase in students enrolled in IT qualifications between 2008 and 2015, and the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training scheme growing to 2,400 places in 2016, up from 1,900 in 2015. The annual NEET rate is also at its lowest since September 2008,” says Mr Joyce.

“Building modern and safe work environments remains a priority for the Government in our target to reduce workplace fatalities and serious injuries by at least 25 per cent by 2020,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“Equipping people with the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy, will help us achieve this target, as well as boost productivity and improve outcomes for all New Zealanders.”

Read the Building Skilled and Safe Workplaces chapter

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