Successful MTFJ placement sets apprentice up for 'life's work'

Published on 10 May 2024

Fairview Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Mayor Len visit best.png

Helen Flynn, Council’s Community Partnerships Co-ordinator, Fairview owner Mike Veal, Mayor Len Salt and apprentice Roman McCaskill.

A scheme to match unemployed young people with local jobs has been given a resounding endorsement by a local employer. Mayor Len Salt recently met with the owner of Fairview Windows & Doors and an apprentice the company took on through the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. 

Fairview owner Mike Veal told Mayor Len there’s a skills shortage in his company’s area of work, fabricating and installing aluminium joinery, supplying most of the businesses locally. “We’re the only ones that do what we do. We can’t poach from our opposition. We have to train them.” 

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) Community Employment Programme is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development. It has a strong focus on getting young people into sustainable employment in their local area. Through the MTFJ, Mike Veal employed then 23-year-old Roman McCaskill, on a referral from Ngāti Maru, one of the partner organisations involved in the taskforce, alongside our Council and Valley Education and Training Enterprises Limited. The programme is designed to promote community-led solutions for youth employment, education, and training. Roman had just moved to the area, seeking better prospects than the seasonal horticulture or farming he’d done in South Waikato. Roman interviewed really well. His work readiness and work ethic impressed Mike Veal from the get-go.

“He’s a genuine person, straight up and honest,” Mike says. After a 90-day trial, he took on Roman as an apprentice on an 18-month BCITO programme. “He’s doing a great job. He picked up the skills really fast. We want to clone him.” 

Roman McCaskill at work at Fairview.

Now 24, Roman sees his future as with Fairview. “I didn’t really have much of a career pathway. I didn’t really focus too much in school. After high school I realised times were a bit tough. I’ve had times when I couldn’t even pay some of these bills.”

Roman didn’t know anything about aluminium, but thought: “I don’t like being broke. I’d give it a shot."

“I’m enjoying it so far. I haven’t had one bad thing happen. Everyone here’s awesome. It’s good banter, good vibes. Five years from now I pretty much see myself here. I am most probably going to take this job into my life's work.” 

After observing another young employee who had health problems due to his diet, Mike also provides a free fruit bowl for his staff to encourage healthy eating.  

Fairview employ 13 staff and currently has two vacancies. Mike Veal says he’s looking for trainees who have the right attitude: “able to turn up with their shoelaces done up”, with their lunch ready, pass a drug test and be on time. “If they’ve tinkered with bikes or motorbikes or cars or done well at metalwork at school then that’s the sort of thing we’re looking for. We’ll take the rest from there.”  

Mayor Len thanked Fairview and Mike Veal for their participation in the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, saying MTFJ recognises the power of localism, and that one size doesn’t fit all. “We’ve seen huge benefits from this work - the ability help people into jobs and help businesses through the tough times,” Mayor Len said. Our Council has now placed 28 young people who were not in employment or education into local roles in our community through the programme.  

“Through our Council’s Long Term Plan discussions, we’re getting feedback on continuing this work once recovery funding has finished and making it part of Council’s regular business. We’re getting really strong feedback in support – the cost is very small on a per household basis, people see the benefit and we want to keep that going. The team’s doing fantastic work.” 

About Mayors Taskforce for Jobs 

MTFJ is a movement of mayors around Aotearoa who advocate for a bottom-up approach to employment solutions to deliver the Community Employment Programme (CEP) along with broader initiatives. In particular, CEP is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development that’s delivering great outcomes in our rural and provincial communities. It’s championed by mayors who are working together towards the vision of all young people 16-25 engaged in employment, education or training in their communities.