Connecting locals with the many opportunities to work, train and study in the region is at the heart of the Tūrangi Job Fair. The inaugural event was held in 2021 with people of all ages and backgrounds attending to see what exhibitors had to offer, and 2022’s event, held on 27 October built on this success.
“We have so many jobs and training opportunities in Tūrangi and the surrounding region. Amplify started the Tūrangi Job Fair because we want people to see how many great employers and training providers are right here on our doorstep. You don’t need to leave the area to get a qualification or have an exciting career,” says Tanya Stieglbauer, Workforce Support Lead at Amplify.
The Tūrangi Gym in the town centre was packed with companies and organisations with a wide range of jobs and training opportunities to offer. Farming, forestry, civil works, building and construction were well represented with companies such as Pāmu, PermaPine, Higgins, ITM, Central Builders, Vertical Horizons and Te Waa Logging. Contact and Genesis, two of
NZ’s leading energy companies with exciting projects underway in the area, have all kinds of jobs open. The tourism and hospitality sector was represented with hundreds of roles available around the region. The New Zealand Defence Force, Department of Corrections, St Johns, NZ Police, Fire and Emergency NZ, Tuwharetoa Health and Taupō District Council were also there to talk about the huge range of career paths they offer.
A key theme with all employers was the strong link between working and training. Every employer present at the job fair was keen to talk about the opportunities they provide for their team members to train, upskill and gain qualifications while they earn.
ServiceIQ, part of Te Pūkenga, works with dozens of local businesses in the tourism, hospitality, accommodation and retail sectors to provide training in conjunction with employment. “Providing training opportunities for staff alongside work is win-win,” says Petrina Sculpher, Training and Transitions Advisor. “Staff can gain qualifications while they earn and open up prospects for career advancement. Employers have something additional to help attract and retain employees as well as reaping the benefits of improving the skillsets of their team.”
Waipiata Hamilton started working with Te Waa Logging three years ago and is now a loader driver. She loves working in the forestry industry and plans to learn how to operate all the heavy machinery used in logging. She is also considering a degree in management to further her career. “My boss is really supportive of me doing a degree,” says Waipiata. “It’s good to know he will be behind me when I am ready.”
Bill Asher is the Iwi Liaison Sergeant, Taupō and Tokoroa, for NZ Police. He sees the Tūrangi Job Fair as an important way to show local people that there are plenty of jobs available close to home and that the businesses and organisations are part of their community. Waka Asher, of Lake Taupō Forest Trust, has worked with Amplify to deliver the event and agrees, “There are lots of local jobs, but it can be difficult for some of these employers to be visible. The job fair is one way we can improve visibility and connect people to good jobs here in their community.”
Several organisations have thrown their support behind the job fair to help raise this visibility. New World Tūrangi, Blue Light, Taupō District Council were sponsors of the event alongside Amplify. Tūwharetoa FM promoted the event as well as providing the MCs for the day.
Chris White of Central Builders, another Tūrangi business at the job fair, currently has four
apprentices as part of his team of ten and works alongside Toi Ohomai to support them in gaining their trade certifications while they also earn and learn on the job. “Our team is all locals. There is plenty of work here and a great career in building for anyone who wants to put in the work,” he says. Chris James, owner and manager of ITM agrees, “Supporting local people and local business is one of our core values at ITM. We get to know all the local tradespeople and they are always looking for good people. Connecting people and businesses in our community with opportunities is a big part of what we do.”
Attracting and retaining good people is an ongoing challenge for any organisation. A strong message from all the exhibitors at the Tūrangi Job Fair was that in addition to providing skills and training, treating people like whānau is key to building a strong team.
Jordan Latoa started with Pāmu straight out of school. He was interested in farming, and the offer of housing and the chance to undertake an apprenticeship were big factors in his decision to join the team. Pāmu manages over 100 farms across Aotearoa and Jordan has held positions on several of these and has now worked his way to a Head Shepherd role. “I’ve had really good support to build my career in farming,” says Jordan, “And at the same time I get to come home each night in time for dinner with my family.”
PermaPine goes above and beyond to overcome barriers to employment and build a strong team. PermaPine provides comprehensive driver training to all their employees and also works with Arc Counselling to rehabilitate disqualified drivers. Essential Health and Safety Regulations & Compliance Manager, Michelle Skiffington, is passionate about PermaPine’s commitment to hiring people from diverse backgrounds and from towns around the region that don’t always have great access to employment. “Our managing director, Ian Piebenga, started the company in 2005 and treated those first 11 staff like family. Now it’s team of 95 and we have vans picking up our team from Rotomā, Tūrangi, Kaingaroa, Murupara and Rotorua daily. Everyone is still treated like family and if they are keen to work, we are keen to have them,” says Michelle.