Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan has been chosen as the new chairman of the Mayors Task Force for Jobs, a nationwide initiative to get young people into training and jobs.
Task force chief executive Bry Kopu said she was ''thrilled'' Mr Cadogan was taking the helm.
''He brings an immense amount of passion, commitment and experience to the role and I'm sure he'll make a huge contribution as chairperson.''
He replaces outgoing chair Dale Williams, former Otorohanga mayor, who stepped down to travel the world with his family.
Mr Cadogan said he would focus on strengthening the membership of the task force and utilising the connection with central government.
''We have a lot of good kids in our communities, who, through no fault of their own, are out of work, I'm ready to roll my sleeves up and get into it.''
He was proud to have been chosen to lead the only group that represented all mayors at a national level, he said.
Mr Cadogan was already strong advocate for youth employment, backing the Ready, Steady, Work programme in the Clutha District, which recently finished it second year.
The 25 or so people on the five-week course were presented with graduation certificates during a lunch at Telford last week.
The first Ready, Steady, Work course was run last November and was funded by the Ministry of Social Development, 24 of the 26 people who took part found a job.
The course was a joint effort between the Mayors Task Force for Jobs initiative in Clutha and employers in the region.
Those on it took part in mentoring sessions, listened to guest speakers, met potential employers and were taught about fitness and healthy eating.
At the Telford lunch, Mr Cadogan told those who had completed the course in 2013 that it meant ''one heck of a lot'' to him.
He hoped the participants had grown within themselves and told them they had hang in there when looking for work.
''You are no different than anyone else.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.