New initiative to support young rural Southlanders into jobs

A Central Government-funded initiative to get young rural Southlanders into jobs was launched in Riverton, Te Anau and Winton this week.

23 Feb 2024

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The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Employment Programme is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). Southland District Council holds the contract and Great South will deliver the initiative.

Great South Chief Executive Chami Abeysinghe said the programme would fit well alongside its existing Southland Youth Futures Programme, which also has a focus on Southland youth who were not yet in education, employment or training.

“The difference is that one of our staff members will work alongside young people and employers throughout the employment process.

“Young people in rural communities tend to have limited access to services and training opportunities, and things like getting a drivers’ licence, which are all barriers to employment.”

The programme is aimed at young people aged 16 to 24 within the Southland District rating area only and is available at no cost for those not already in fulltime employment.

Southland District Mayor Rob Scott said more than 30 councils elsewhere in New Zealand were participating in Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, having supported over 1,000 young people into work since July. He said he was delighted it would now be offered in Southland District.

“This programme is about finding local solutions, and we know our young people best.

“It’s a benefit to our communities and the wider economy if our young people are in sustainable employment.”

The reason Great South was delivering the programme was based on the success of its Southland Youth Futures Programme, he said.

For more information about the programme visit: Mayors Taskforce for Jobs | Great South 

Young people or businesses keen to find out more about the programme, please email Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Coordinator Liz Wyatt. Email:

Informal opportunities for young people to drop in and find out more about the programme will be held in Te Anau, Winton and Riverton over the coming weeks (as below):

Te Anau

When: Wednesday 6th March

Where: Te Anau Library

Time: 10am – 1pm


When: Wednesday 13th March

Where: Winton Library

Time: 10am – 1pm


When: Wednesday 20th March

Where: Riverton Library

Time: 10am – 1pm