Mayor's Taskforce for Jobs supports 155 young people into employment

Published 12 Jul 2022

The Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Workforce Programme in the Tararua District has nearly come to the end of its second year, and there’s so much to be proud of.

Since starting in mid 2020, the programme has supported 155 young people into employment across 125 local businesses. This year 82 young people were helped into jobs.

MTFJ is a nationwide network of New Zealand’s Rural Mayors, all striving to reduce youth unemployment in their districts and connect businesses with staff who are committed to work. Tararua District Council Mayor Tracey Collis says: “The MTFJ workforce programme has enabled many successful connections between local employers and those seeking work. It’s a win-win situation; young people who are not in education, employment or training, can register with the programme. So too can businesses who are in need of staff and who are ready to employ local youth.”

MTFJ workforce Coordinator, Fontayne Chase, has played a key role in the success of the programme, “The MTFJ programme has been able to match our Rangatahi with employment opportunities that are right for them. Throughout our district we’ve seen young people grow into roles within the construction, plant nursery, recycling, catering, painting and decorating, hairdressing, motor mechanic, lumber production, engineering, plumbing, retail, farming, fencing, electrical, arborist, civil contracting, and dairy – it’s helping people right across the employment spectrum.”

Jonty Lean (19 years old) is a MTFJ workforce participant and is undertaking an apprenticeship with Dannevirke painting contractors, Martin Beveridge Ltd. “After Dannevirke High, I wasn’t too sure what to do. This apprenticeship has really helped me. I am learning what it means to work, to get up early and be responsible. I am learning new skills and different painting techniques. I know now that this is the job that I want to do. And I have been able to buy my first car,’’ adds Jonty with a grin.

Tajalee Stephenson, the office manager, says that she has enjoyed seeing Jonty grow into this work and becoming a more confident person.

Raymond Beveridge, the company’s director, says that he is grateful for the MTFJ support. “It takes about 6 to 12 months for apprentices to get up to speed so the support in wages has helped immensely.” His mother, Moana, who started the business with her husband Martin almost 50 years ago says: “We have been lucky to get good employees, if you look after staff well, they will look after you. Many young men started their career here with us and we are happy to continue this through MTFJ programme.”

Funding for this year’s programme ended on 30 June 2022, but you can still connect with the team and gain from the support available. A new contract is expected to be signed and announced soon. For more information about the programme people can email: