“The groups will be of particular value now as COVID-19 is having a far-reaching impact on regional labour markets. They will provide independent advice, which employers and government agencies will act on to help re-employ, redeploy or retrain workers, and for entrepreneurs who have lost their jobs or closed their businesses,” says Minister Jackson.
The Manawatū-Whanganui Group will be chaired by Ruma Karaitiana who is also Chair of Rangitāne o Manawatū Kaitiaki Limited and Rangitāne o Manawatū Investment Trust, as well as a member of the Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce and Accelerate25.
“Identified as an enabler for increasing job opportunities and quality of life in the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan, Accelerate25’s Skills and Talent Advisory Group have formed into the Regional Skills Leadership Group,” says Mr Karaitiana.
“Membership includes regional industry leaders, economic development agencies, iwi, and worker and government representatives, who will all contribute their knowledge and local expertise.
“Thanks to the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation support of data analysts, policy advisors and workforce specialists we will be able to further understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on jobs in our region, helping us to tailor the support needed at a local level.”
The Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Skills Leadership Group will work closely with local and national initiatives including a Workforce Development Council. The Council will focus on industry specific training needs across all of New Zealand, while the Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) will offer a regional perspective on skills needs.
The RSLG builds on the strategic leadership and support to progress local workforce priorities through regional coordination already underway, adding a recovery lens and input from a national level.
Minister Jackson says the 15 Regional Skills Leadership Groups set up across the country have been formed on an interim, one-year basis with a swift appointment process, and a mandate to support the immediate response to the regional labour market impacts and disruption arising from COVID-19.
In the longer term, the groups will develop Regional Workforce Plans, which project labour supply needs, to ensure the regions have the right skills and workforce planning to seize local economic opportunities.
“Addressing the immediate and future demand of our key industries and utilising significant investment opportunities in our region, will create economic recovery that is inclusive and also achieves social outcomes,” says Mr Karaitiana.
“One initiative already well underway in our region is the National Driver Training Centre (NDTC) at Manfeild in Feilding.
“NDTC received a $2.8 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund towards the expansion of the Centre in November 2018 to assist with delivering a full suite of driver training, including truck, digger, 4WD, forklift and roller training.
“This need was already elevated in our region due to significant roading projects such as Te Ahu Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, Palmerston North Integrated Roading Initiatives, and the Otaki to North of Levin Highway.
“All of these roading projects have been identified as priorities by the Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce. They are key to getting our economy going, however upskilling local people will be key to their delivery.
“While for now, a recovery focus is on creating jobs, we are keen to provide long-term skilled employment for our people across industries. The RSLG and central government involvement are important tools for making this happen.”
Chrissie Morrison, Horizons Regional Council Communications Manager, 027 695 9747