Employment Support Marlborough Trust is a registered charitable trust established in 1987 to assist people who faced barriers to gaining employment, at that time being mainly defined as self employment. This criterion has widened as the years have passed.
The Trust is administered by a board of trustees made up of local people with all of its grants being applied within the Marlborough (including Kaikoura) Region.
In its early years the Trust undertook the running of various training programmes funded through the Department of Social Welfare or latterly Community Employment Group (CEG) under the Department of Labour.
The main programme was the “Be Your Own Boss” courses designed to teach those who were undertaking self employment the necessary skills to run their own businesses. In later years a “New Business Skills” module was an addition to the portfolio. Various other short term contracts were also run.
During this period the Trust employed a business adviser/facilitator and, while copying documents required for the courses, identified that by offering copying to the public it could make a business that not only provided employment but also generated profits that could be used to further its aims in the employment sector. This business evolved into Custom Copy Ltd which continues to be a premier photocopy centre in Blenheim today.
The Trust, in conjunction with the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce successfully ran the Small Business Information Training Programme (BIZ info) for some 3 years.
However political ideas changed, as did Government policies, and these changes together with unemployment levels dropping in the early 2000s, meant the funding for such courses ceased or were diverted to areas that the Trust couldn’t access. The Trust therefore changed its focus to support those, mainly young people, who faced financial barriers to gaining or remaining in trades training. It set up a grant scheme aimed at apprentices to either pay for their course fees or buy them tools of trade. It later expanded this into support for those in general employment facing financial hardship who were required to undergo training or had specific financial barriers that limited employment prospects.
The Trust also provides scholarships through the Marlborough campus of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, to people doing pre-apprenticeship training. It has funded Blenheim-run CACTUS and Project K courses, and it has also supplied funding to Selmes Garden Trust and Business Trust Marlborough, who run this area’s business mentoring programme.
Employment Support Marlborough Trust acknowledges the support of the late Ailsa Litchfield in establishing the grant schemes.
Over the past ten years the Trust has given out $130,000 in various grants.