19 Feb 2014

Government confident over jobs

9:01 pm on 19 February 2014

The Government has said it is confident the number of young people not in employment, education or training will continue to fall.

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Unemployment in New Zealand is at its lowest level since the end of 2008. Photo: 123RF

Labour market figures show youth unemployment stood at 11.3 percent at the end of last year, its lowest level since the end of 2008. Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce said improving the economy and the Government's push to get younger people into some form of education or training were paying off with the numbers falling. But he said that those still in need of help presented a challenge.

"As the employment market picks up and education picks up you are left with group which is probably a little more challenging, but I think we're achieving good progress."

However the director of external relations at Manukau Institute of Technology Stuart Middleton said the Government could do more to bring the numbers down - particularly among young people.

Dr Middleton would like the government to promote early childhood education more strongly, because he said it was important to get young people fit for work was as the population aged and the demographics changed.

"The numbers should worrry us, because you've got big changes in the demographics of New Zealand. Those people are all, each and every one of them, a potentiallly useful worker who could be contributing to the wealth of the country one way or another."

Stuart Middleton said New Zealand should follow the example of Scandinavia, and institute programmes to put all young people either in education or in work.