New Zealand Master Painters have been enormously positive in their response to an appeal to provide work and training for good Kiwi kids, rather than import skills from overseas, says former national president Paul Reddish.
Articles in the last Auckland Master Painters’ newsletter and Painter & Decorator Magazine had resulted in a raft of phone calls from contractors offering to provide jobs for young people for a special pilot programme he is helping manage with Work & Income and a team of outdoor industry specialists.
“Something special happens to people when they get sustained exposure to exciting adventure and challenges in the natural outdoors and there are lots of indications this is the scaffold we need to get people into work. It’s our job to prove it and it’s great to get the high level of support that is coming through.
“Since then we have followed up this support with personal calls and the response has been nothing but positive. We’ve now got plenty of jobs lined up for the pilot programme, which starts on March 8 at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Tongariro,” Paul said.
“The skills shortage is here with us, and the painting contractors’ that I have spoken to absolutely get the idea that we’ve got Kiwi kids who need and deserve to be given an opportunity, rather than bringing painters in from Asia or Europe.
“Someone gave us a chance when we were young, and with the construction industry booming, it is time to put something back. The response out of Auckland and in the northern regions has been particularly significant. That’s where the skills shortage is greatest, but it’s also where the highest number of unemployed reside.”
Paul said he was still looking for indications of interest from painting contractors as he was confident the specially designed outdoor education course to give young unemployed people confidence, fitness and an understanding of work ethic would all translate into a positive work attitude.
He will participate in the three week outdoor education course and build a rapport with the young people and once they enter the workforce he will be personally responsible for helping the cadets deal with personal and work issues as they arise.
“Either myself or members of our team will visit them regularly. We will ensure the cadets keep in touch and support each other and we will create employer hubs where those who have taken a cadet can get together and talk through any issues they are having.
“Giving someone a chance and getting young people into life-changing employment situations is incredibly satisfying,” Paul said. “If they come from a family with a history of inter-generational unemployment and we break that cycle, the impacts are multiplied many times over.”by