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Government launches plan to get more Pacific people into work

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito Su’a William Sio. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Diversifying the Pacific workforce, addressing barriers to employment and leveraging Pacific entrepreneurship are the key objectives of the Government’s new Pacific Employment Action Plan.

The plan was launched on Monday by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio at the first of three Pacific Post-Budget 2022 breakfasts being held over the next two weeks.

“The action plan sets out a vision to deliver better employment opportunities and services for Pacific peoples across employment, self-employment, and training,” Aupito says.

“We are undertaking a range of reforms and reviews to ensure that we deliver greater impact for Pacific people across all areas that support people being in good work.”

Aupito says the plan further strengthens engagement with Pacific communities to design an employment, education and training system that works for them.

“Diversifying the Pacific workforce reflects the need to support Pacific inclusion across industries and occupations through workforce development initiatives, sector capability development and improvements,” he says. 

Aupito also says another of the plan’s objectives is to continue work towards addressing systemic barriers faced by Pacific communities in the employment, education and training system while supporting pacific businesses.

“A key part of the plan is leveraging Pacific entrepreneurship which will enable Pacific people to create careers and business opportunities that reflect our cultural values and aspirations,” Aupito says. 

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

The Action Plan is one of seven population-specific employment initiatives that support the Government’s wider Employment Strategy led by the Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni.

“The Pacific Employment Action Plan is a great example of how the Employment Strategy will support Aotearoa New Zealand to become a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy,” Sepuloni says. 

“Our Pacific communities play an integral part in growing our economy and this Plan will help us achieve that.”

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples secured additional funding through Budget 2022 to support the continuation and enhancement of targeted employment and training initiatives for Pacific communities including:

  • $18.28m to continue the Toloa STEAM programme
  • $8m to continue delivering employment and training services through Tupu Aotearoa
  • $1.6m to maintain the Pacific Work Connect Service for Pacific migrants. 

“We are doing this because work is more than just how people support themselves and their families. A well-functioning labour market is vital for economic growth which in turn, allows us to tackle the long-term challenges we must address to lift the wellbeing of Pacific Aotearoa,” Aupito says.

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