I had an experience on Friday evening that gave me one of those ‘oh my Goodness this is important' moments.
That experience was meeting the Mayor of Otorohanga, Dale Williams. What an inspiration.When he was elected Mayor he inherited the usual share of social problems. Unemployment, vandalism, graffitti, crime, etc the same as most towns you go to in NZ. There were plenty of big and small businesses in Otorohanga but it wasn't always easy to get new staff that they could train up. About seven years ago a small group investigated why the district school leavers were not taking up locally available trade jobs and apprenticeships. They met with the Principal and the Careers Advisor. All that was on offer for kids leaving school were pamphlets for Polytechs and other training institutions and pamphlets for the police force and army. Nothing at all for any of the local trades. Young people were leaving the district to take up pre-employment qualifications and study elsewhere. They were going away and not coming back. The common cry was 'there's nothing here for us, why would we want to stay here?'
Research was undertaken to identify the industries with the greatest uptake of apprentices.
Specific courses were developed to train school leavers in skills that local employers needed. (Some courses are fee-free)
Employment guarantees were negotiated with employers for some courses to provide jobs for graduates.
They set up a careers expo that was for local businesses only.
Businesses are committed to taking on apprentices. Depending on the size of the business as to how many
You can go online and see for yourself just what has been achieved. Zero unemployment for under 25s, minimal graffitti, vandalism and crime.
I am so excited about what I have read and heard and how such amzing things have been achieved that I have invited Dale Williams to come to Coromandel and tell us how he turned Otorohanga around.
My 1st issue, so far, is promoting business development and sustainable economic growth in Coromandel. We have our Aquaculture industry, farming, small businesses, tourist sites, we have an amazing amount of incredibly talented people with a huge range of skills, a training centre, youth initiative programmes, active retired people who could mentor skills development.... I could go on, we have so much in our town. We just need to capture it and have it work for the good of the whole town.
The big question I asked him; What do all these intiatives cost the ratepayer? The answer? Nothing! The programmes are supported 100% by Council but Council doesn't pay the dollars. The funding for the programmes comes from all manner of institutions, charitable trusts. Mayors Taskforce for jobs, Wintec, MSD, Work & Income, Tindall Foundation, local businesses, the people of the town and many more. Groups like Lions, Rotary and Probus have resurrected their flagging groups; they fully participate and are totally committed. The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Vision is "The zero waste of Youth".
Dale was speaking in Paeroa to about 80 people. Everyone there was as excited as I was.
Dale says "Don't copy the Programme - The principals of the programme are relevant"
See why I'm so excited? Wouldn't it be amazing to have our town feeling so alive and humming. Come along and hear Dale speak when he comes to Coromandel. As soon as I have a confirmed date I will advertise it.
Top 5 Issues
- Business development that will lead to sustainable economic growth. Create a forum where employers/businesses will be asked to identify what gaps they have in their businesses that need to be filled. Once identified, training can be set up that specifically targets the identified areas of need. Businesses will grow, employment opportunities increase, people will stay our town will grow.
Authorised by Jan Autumn of Coromandel/Colville ward