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Government funding helps address Waikato housing and skills shortages

Te Waka CEO Michael Bassett-Foss says this week’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcement by the Government will provide a triple benefit of addressing Waikato’s housing shortage, upskilling the region’s youth and providing talent for Waikato’s growing construction industry.

Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the PGF, announced yesterday by Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau.

 The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are:

  • $393,500 to Waikato Tainui/Building and Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) for a work readiness programme to assist rangatahi to enter the construction industry
  • $646,450 to building company Emergent Skills NZ Ltd to set up a Locals Building Local Homes at Volume project.

Bassett-Foss says these two projects support construction industry jobs and labour market initiatives, two concerns that have been a focus for Te Waka since the Waikato Labour Market Strategy launched in April 2019.

“Te Waka has been working with the Labour Market Leadership Group and key industry leaders to implement a three-year programme to build, attract and retain skills and talent on a sector-by-sector basis.

“Because of the forecasted, continued growth in construction across the Waikato, initial efforts to attract staff have focussed on this sector. So, it’s been great to see both these Te Ara Mahi PGF projects funded as they are focused on providing training opportunities for local people in the construction industry.

“This funding will also help leverage the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation’s strong connections with local employers, which will support trainees into jobs.”

The Waikato Region Housing Initiative – 2018 Housing Stocktake published by The Waikato Plan showed that the Waikato needs 51,000 more houses in the next 25 years.

“We already have a shortfall of 7,500, with 700 of those in the South Waikato region,” says Mr Bassett-Foss.

“Sustainable housing solutions, like the Locals Building Local Homes at Volume project, will play a significant role in helping the South Waikato address its housing needs, both in terms of supply and affordability.

“I commend the Government for having the foresight to support two projects that will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of our region and our local communities”

The PGF continues to dominate as the major source of funding for projects from the Waikato region. 

Over the last 18 months, Te Waka has helped prepare applications for 13 projects for PGF funding, and provided letters of support for or input into 9 more. During that time, 16 projects have been successful, with Te Waka supporting 11 of them. Many other applications are currently being considered by Government or in the process of being prepared for submission.

Please click here for more information about yesterday’s funding announcement from The Beehive.