Industry sectors in the spotlight for plan
The smallest project in the Tairāwhiti Economic Support Package Redeployment Programme could potentially have one of the biggest region-wide impacts.
Trust Tairāwhiti are working on The Workforce Development Plan which will play a large part in the recovery of Tairāwhiti post COVID-19. Headed by project manager Richard Searle, the plan looks to increase the region’s workforce capabilities and capacities by delving into four key sectors – forestry, horticulture, civil construction and tourism, which includes hospitality and accommodation. Backing up those figures will be input from supporting sectors, including transport and logistics, engineering and construction.
A governance group comprising chairs from Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou, Rongawhakaata and Te Rūnanga o Turanganui a Kiwa, along with representatives from Gisborne District Council, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Social Development, Trust Tairāwhiti and the four industry sectors will oversee the project.
“The key goal is to better understand the regional employment opportunities in key sectors and to identify the opportunities for local talent to be shaped to have the skills to gain employment,” says Richard. “Here in Tairāwhiti we have some of the highest unemployment rates in New Zealand, with a number of vacancies holding back opportunities for local businesses.”
Pre-COVID-19 lockdown, there were an estimated 400-600 jobs available across the four sectors with projections that a further 1200 jobs will be created in the coming two years. That would come through the development of higher value horticulture production, the increase in forestry harvests, and the extended programme of civil roading and engineering construction underway. The tourism sector had earlier been shown faster growth than others but is expected to be adversely affected by COVID-19 for some time.
Richard will be campaigning sector employers and agencies, those in the education training sector as well as other supporting agencies who can offer wrap-around support.
He’s confident the programme will help identify how the region can support training and development of those not in employment or education with a view to placing them with good employers. “In turn this will contribute to improved wellbeing outcomes and intervene in a cycle that is currently broken. The intention is to nurture the talent we have toward new employment outcomes which we understand to be a key component of personal and community wellbeing.”
Richard is also hopeful the plan would drive a change in thinking from employees, employers and the wider community with the lift in both skills and capabilities leading to the living wage as a minimum.
The project is one of five under Council’s $23.755m Government package and part of a wider $100m national redeployment push. While the plan focuses on just four sectors initially, Richard said the success could be replicated for other sector/employer opportunities. “The learnings from this and subsequent execution are expected to be a blueprint for future expansion,” says Richard. “We want the best possible outcome for our community as it looks to rebuild post-COVID-19.”
The project is being delivered on behalf of the CARE forum (Commitment, Action and Reciprocity that results in sustainable Employment), which is the regional workforce development agency and was established to oversee the development of workforce capacity and capability.
A collaborative effort . . . (from left) Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust general manager and Rau Tipu Rau Ora Executive Management Team member Amohaere Houkamau, horticulture industry representative Natalya Egan, Trust Tairāwhiti project manager Richard Searle, Mayor Rehette Stoltz and Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland. Photo by The Black Balloon