Skills Update’s MSD Programme: Improving socioeconomic outcomes & supporting communities

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New Zealand’s social welfare system According to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), 9.7% of the working-age population — 291,969 people — are receiving main Benefits from Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) in the period of June 2018 to June 2019. Main Benefits include Jobseeker Support, Support Living Payment, and Sole Parent Support. Other Benefits available to those deemed to be in need include: Youth Payment/Young Parent Payment, Emergency Maintenance Allowance, Emergency Benefit, Jobseeker Support Student Hardship, Widow’s Benefit Overseas, and Sole Parent Support Overseas.

Statistical trends reveal that Jobseeker Support recipients are main contributors to fluctuations in benefit numbers. Between June 2018 and June 2019, there was a 11.2% increase in the number of Jobseeker Support recipients. Individuals applying for Jobseeker Support are either unemployed and looking for a job, in part-time employment seeking more work, or have a health condition or disability that affects work ability. A government department key to New Zealand’s social welfare system, MSD is responsible for providing social and financial support for New Zealanders. In collaboration with partners and providers, MSD aims to tackle social issues such as unemployment, income, family violence, food insecurity, housing, and healthcare. MSD is committed to understanding individuals’ situations and needs, helping where possible in timely manner, and working with individuals to achieve shared goals. Corresponding to these commitments, Skills Update has partnered with MSD to help beneficiaries on Jobseeker Support gain employment, gain new skills and qualifications, and improve their earning potential. Partnership between MSD and Skills Update Through the Preparation for Work programme, Skills Update assists clients in gaining certifications, polishing up CVs and cover letters, improving interview skills, and job placements. After completing Skills Update’s 3-week Preparation for Work programme, work-ready candidates can participate in an optional 4-week workshop for further job-placement assistance. Skills Update’s MSD programme Following MSD’s pre-screening, clients referred to Skills Update by MSD will be given a rundown of the Preparation for Work programme, which includes what is offered and potential outcomes upon completing the programme.

Skills Update’s MSD programme is designed to help clients develop the following: – Interpersonal communication skills – Job interview skills – Confidence – Knowledge in employee rights – Time management competency – Budgeting capabilities – Work ethics – Effective teamwork skills – Ability to work independently – Self-discovery Based on clients’ interests, passion, past work experiences, desire for a career change, and future goals, they can choose from the following industry-based certificates: – First Aid – Site Safe – Civil Passport – ConstructSafe – Elevated Work Platform – Basic Food and Hygiene – LCQ – COA/Unit Standards – Forklift/ F Endorsement – Dangerous Goods Over the course of three weeks, Skills Update’s MSD team will submit reports on each clients’ progress. The report encompasses clients’ choice of certification, class attendance, and job interviews. While huge emphasis is placed on class attendance, Skills Update’s MSD team seeks to understand individuals’ situation, and are flexible around their WINZ appointments. To minimise barriers to attendance, travel allowance — calculated based on the distance between clients’ homes and campus — is also provided. Supporting MSD’s goal of strong communities that function well The work that MSD and Skills Update do is tied to the collective wellbeing of New Zealanders. MSD’s key priorities involve investing in people’s potential and building strong communities that function well. In line with these priorities, Skills Update’s MSD programme actively seeks to help those struggling to find paid work to achieve their full potential, improve their employment prospects, and ultimately, enhance their capabilities in contributing back to their communities. Upon completing the Preparation for Work programme and getting employed, it becomes apparent that individuals are better off when working than when they were not as they make effective transitions from the benefit to the workforce. Skills Update’s Preparation for Work programme is conducted at Kelston and Papakura campuses

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