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A successful partnership between the Mayors Task Force for Jobs (MTFJ) and Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Industry Partnerships paved the way for a young man to become a carpenter and work towards becoming a business owner one day.

Mitchell Boyce, an 18-year-old school leaver from Tararua College, secured an apprenticeship at Murray Judd Joinery in Woodville, with support from MTFJ and MSD’s Community Recovery Program. The program also provided him with tools and helped him obtain his restricted driver’s license. The program has been running for two years and has placed over 2,500 young people and people displaced by Covid into employment.

Given the success of this program, MTFJ and MSD are pleased to announce a new investment of $14 million for the next fiscal year. The Rural Community Resilience program will focus on placing NEETS (young people not in school, employment or training), people with disabilities and other disadvantaged people in the labor market.

MTFJ President and Mayor of Ōtorohanga, Max Baxter, says the partnership has been extremely successful in helping young people find jobs.

“Mitchell is just one example of the many young people we have helped. I heard his employer describes him as an asset to the company and that’s music to my ears.

“What we do is not just help young people find work, we help our businesses thrive in our rural communities.

Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, says: “Many young people have not learned basic life skills due to the disruption caused by Covid-19 and many are affected by anxiety. and other mental health issues.

“This means that local supports for young people and employers are essential.

“We are pleased to be able to continue funding this mahi and to continue to work with councils across New Zealand to focus on supporting rangatahi and businesses in rural areas.”

Mitchell’s employer, Murray Judd, says Mitchell could not have done the apprenticeship without the support of the program.

Murray likes to give youngsters a chance and is happy to have been able to give them this opportunity. “Mitchell is one in a million, he’s really up to it and doing a great job.”

Mitchell now manufactures kitchen cabinets and worktops from scratch and takes great pride in his work.

The first kitchen he built and installed is likely to be featured in a home and garden magazine as part of the client’s renovations.

His job is more than just a job and Murray now feels like family.

“It’s like we’re father and son, not employer/employee,” says Mitchell.

“We talk about investments, how to get a mortgage, and I even watch their house when they’re away.”

Mitchell says he’s incredibly grateful for the extra support and guidance Murray gives him. “It’s a great opportunity and a build towards my future.”

He has big plans and Murray has even spoken to Mitchell about taking over the business when he retires.

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