Mayors Taskforce for Jobs recovery programme puts 500 young people into work, training

Apprentice Pairama Katipa-Maikuku with supervisor Tai Mataroa, buildings maintenance officer Patrick Carr and apprentice Hayze Carr-Rewi inside the workshop they refitted at the Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park.
Lawrence Gullery/Stuff
Apprentice Pairama Katipa-Maikuku with supervisor Tai Mataroa, buildings maintenance officer Patrick Carr and apprentice Hayze Carr-Rewi inside the workshop they refitted at the Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park.

Rural councils have managed to find 500 jobs for young people and those displaced by Covid-19, as part of a $11.5 million community recovery programme set up mid-2020.

It represents just under half of the 1150-job target the 23 rural councils have to meet, under their partnership agreement with funder Ministry of Social Development, through the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs.

Each council had the chance to apply for $500,000, to find 50 jobs each, or training and education opportunities for young people in their communities or those out of work because of the impact of coronavirus.

Councils responded with their own unique initiatives to connect job seekers with employers.

Apprentices Pairama Katipa-Maikuku and Hayze Carr-Rewi will be involved in the park’s redevelopment.
Lawrence Gullery/Stuff
Apprentices Pairama Katipa-Maikuku and Hayze Carr-Rewi will be involved in the park’s redevelopment.

Central Hawke’s Bay District Council refurbished an old campervan to create a mobile employment hub.

Clutha District Council ran speed-dating events with employers across the wider Otago Region, with a goal of filling 8500 jobs.

Some councils like Waitomo, Ōtorohanga and Harauki, opted to take up half the funding per year, for the next two years.

It meant they had $250,000 for the first year, to put 25 people into jobs or training.

Pairama in front of the new avery he helped build at the park.
Lawrence Gullery/Stuff
Pairama in front of the new avery he helped build at the park.

The programme’s co-ordinator for the Ōtorohanga district, Elle Freestone, expected to reach that goal by mid-February and start work on applying for the second round of funding before mid-2021.

Some job seekers had been placed into the meat processing industry, telecommunications, building, timber and hospitality to name a few, she said.

Nationally, about 149 of the 500 placements to date were with the agriculture and primary industries.

In many cases, the recovery programme paid for their training, their tools or helped subsidise wages for a limited time, to remove barriers preventing people from entering the workforce.

Elle Freestone is the co-ordinator leading the community recovery programme out of Ōtorohanga District Council.
Lawrence Gullery/Stuff
Elle Freestone is the co-ordinator leading the community recovery programme out of Ōtorohanga District Council.

Freestone put forward Pairama Katipo-Maikuku, 18, and Hayze Carr-Rewi, 17, as two examples of young people who now have a unique opportunity to pursue their apprenticeships in the building industry.

But it’s fair to say it’s not an ordinary construction site the teens will be working on.

Some of the residents already on site included various species of kiwi, weka, kea, tui, native duck as well as gecko and tuatara to name a few.

The Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park, which is undergoing an $8m redevelopment, is where the young men will complete their carpentry apprenticeship over the next three years.

Ryan Trubshaw secured an apprenticeship with Tony Richards Toyota in Paeroa through the recovery programme and the Hauraki District Council.
SUPPLIED
Ryan Trubshaw secured an apprenticeship with Tony Richards Toyota in Paeroa through the recovery programme and the Hauraki District Council.

The former Ōtorohanga College students will be involved in rebuilding the park, as part of their training.

They had both been working as labourers at the Kiwi House before officially signing on as apprentices in December 2020.

Carr-Rewi lived across the road from the Kiwi House and had visited the park many times

“It’s been a great experience so far, this place is like a whanau, they’ve really welcomed me in.”

Ryan Trubshaw had been looking for a long-term career path since leaving Waihī College in 2018.
SUPPLIED
Ryan Trubshaw had been looking for a long-term career path since leaving Waihī College in 2018.

Katipo-Maikuku tried working at a few different places around Ōtorohanga after he left school before finding work as a labourer at the park about a year ago.

Labouring work was ok but securing an apprenticeship provided more certainty of a long-term career.

One of their first projects was to rebuild their workshop and refit it with benches, shelves and draws, it’ll be their base during the redevelopment.

The park’s development manager, Julian Phillips, said the two apprentices will go on to tackle much more complicated projects over the coming years.

“The plan is to get them involved in the park, from building the public facilities including some innovative water and wastewater systems.

“We also have a new visitor centre and nocturnal house being built and as part of the contract letting agreement, the apprentices will be taken on to be part of those projects to get some good experience.”

Phillips said the teens would get “every chance under the sun” to be trained in all areas of building.

“The end goal is to have them qualified and experienced, to find a place for them with local builders or to support them on to another form of education.”

Elle Freestone said the recovery programme had helped pay for the two apprentices’ tools, up to $3000 each. It would also help pay for training towards driver licence qualifications, for trucks and heavy machinery.

Hauraki District Council had come up with its own brand for the programme, called Gr8 Job Hauraki.

It had matched seven young people with jobs with seven more “on the boil” and 30 applicants registered for job opportunities. The council is aiming to put 25 people into jobs by July 2021, like Ōtorohanga.

Former Wahi College student Ryan Trubshaw secured an apprenticeship with Tony Richards Toyota in Paeroa in December, through the programme.

He said for the first time since leaving college in 2018, he was feeling hopeful about his future.

“I really wanted to be a mechanic but I wasn’t sure where to start. Gr8 Job Hauraki helped me a lot to get a foot in the door,” he said.

He had been working in retail but was feeling “a bit aimless”. He had approached a few businesses about mechanic apprenticeships with no success.

“My other option was to do a polytech course in Tauranga but that seemed unaffordable because I would have to either travel every day or find a flat in the city and I didn’t think I would have enough income for that,” he said.

Tony Richards Toyota Service Manager Logan Brunt said the programme offered good incentives for the company to look into employing an apprentice, including matching them with the right person.

“It can be a bit of a gamble to take on young people but Ryan is a good fit with the team,” he said.

“I started out as an apprentice myself, we all did.

“Everyone has to start somewhere and if we don’t give our young people the opportunity, they won’t get to where we are, so you need to take that leap of faith.”