27 Feb 2012

Programme teaching skills to Pacific wokers in NZ extended

6:38 am on 27 February 2012

A programme that teaches English, numeracy, and computer skills is helping Pacific workers in New Zealand make the most of their earnings and improve communication with their employers.

More than 5,000 workers come to New Zealand annually from Pacific countries under the Recognized Seasonal Workers scheme.

The 20-hour programme, called Vakameasina, has been piloted for two years by the New Zealand Aid programme.

The programme's development manager Matthew Gibbs, says it's been extended for three years with an allocation of 500 workers each year following positive feedback.

"Employers that have been involved in the pilot have said that they've noticed in a number of cases an increased level in the confidence of their workers to communicate directly with them and also a better understanding of budgeting and how to apportion their earnings with a view to sending money home, remittances and the development benefits that flow from that as well."

Matthew Gibbs says getting a spot on the course will be highly dependent on the demands of the season, and the needs of employers.