We are on a Horowhenua mission to activate the opportunities we have right here!




Description of the local context and needs 

Across the Horowhenua District and in each of its communities there are a range of significant labour market and wider socio-economic challenges, from educational attainment, to unemployment, to rates of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), to beneficiary rates. Across all these measures the Horowhenua District performs poorly when compared to surrounding districts, or to comparable local area or to regional and national averages.’ ‘These poorer outcomes are also more acutely felt by Maori, who make up 20% of the district’s population but represent 40% of total Job Seekers’ NEET (source: Martin Jenkins, Pathways Horowhenua report, 29th March 2019). 

As you would expect in such a challenging environment there are a number of agencies operating within the district working to improve employment outcomes. One of the requirements of Get-Go has been established to meet the need to collaborate and work in partnership across all providers, rather than allowing them to operate within a silo and risk duplication and potentially competition. 

Get-Go, in partnership with MSD and UCOL, recently commissioned UMR research to undertake a comprehensive survey of local employers to get their perspective of the Horowhenua labour market in the post COVID world (June/July 2021). One of the key findings was that the number one road block to business growth in the Horowhenua was access to suitable talent. This feedback supports Get-Go taking the role of a trusted champion for local businesses with respect to the labour market. 

Description of service delivery activities 

Get-Go has facilitated the establishment of a multi-agency group to focus on local employment matters. The group was initially established to meet weekly and comprised the following key agencies: MSD (local work brokers), Horowhenua Learning Centre (HLC) and Get-Go Horowhenua. Recently this group has been extended to include Trade Up and the Department of Corrections (work broker). 

Get-Go brings a ‘demand perspective’ to this session, i.e. what talent are local businesses looking for as well as what skill sets are required in both the short (now) as well as medium term (3 years out). This perspective is enhanced by our close connection with the Horowhenua Economic Development team and Horowhenua Development Limited – both part of The Horowhenua Company Limited, and our regular discussions with local businesses on a range of economic and business development factors.

HLC contributes a significant source of available talent but also takes into account the skillset required now and in the medium term to incorporate them into their pre employment education programme. 

Providers such as MSD, Department of Corrections and Trade Up, bring a ‘supply perspective’ to the session, i.e. what talent is currently available and can be put forward to the various vacancies. 

Voices of the person/people as part of their movement along the project 

Patrick (CEO of HLC), ‘having this group has been really useful in providing a good view of what skills are in demand right now as well as what skills we will need to start developing programme to support future growth. It can take us up to two years to work through the development of a new academic programme with NZQA and then secure funding from TEC for delivery in the Horowhenua. The support of industry to prove a need for these skills and a viable pathway to employment is crucial in this process so having this view along with the supporting data is really useful’

Phil (Work Broker, MSD), ‘it’s great being able to meet with other providers, one of the things I have valued the most is having more options available to circulate CVs, having more eyes means a better chance of being able to place someone into a job’

Robin (worker, Thermosash), I was amazed at how quickly I found a job that allowed me to utilise my skills, it’s been fantastic being able to work in a business like Thermosash’ 

Achievements and learning in terms of enabling people to upskill and or be linked to employment

In the short time this group has been operating, it has already delivered a number of significant benefits: 

  • Connecting the various stakeholders working in this space and discussing opportunities to improve processes. A recent example is streamlining the approval of Flexi wage subsidies. This simple change in process has improved efficiency and effectiveness by giving businesses more certainty earlier on in the initial employment discussions; 

  • Enables quicker filling of vacant roles. A recent example was a person (Robin, quoted above) who had returned to New Zealand after working in Australia. This person registered as unemployed and the MSD work broker was able to share his CV with Get-Go who presented him to a local employer. The person was employed within a week, benefiting the person as well as the business; 

  • Improved coordination and minimising the number of visits businesses receive from the various agencies which support people into employment. One agency can take on a ‘lead’ role with a particular employer and all CVs can be channelled through that one point of contact. In the past a single employer may have had MSD call in on a Monday, then an HLC work broker call in on a Tuesday, followed by a Trade Up work broker calling in on Wednesday and so forth; 

  • Provides an improved focus on available talent and a wider distribution network to represent them and try placing them into work sooner; 

  • A much better understanding of what skills are required short term. For example, it has been identified there is an immediate need for talent with forklift qualifications. This has enabled HLC to look at how best this demand can be addressed. More importantly, having a joined up view of future demand provides HLC the robust data they need to secure future funding from organisations such as TEC. 

Establishing this group has positioned Get-Go as a trusted independent enabler, connector and facilitator. Establishing such an organisation was one of the key recommendations identified in Martin Jenkins report. The Martin Jenkins review proposed that such an organisation needs ‘to act in the interest of both young people and employers, engaging in social service agencies, training providers, and regional and national partners to ensure that Horowhenua’s voice is heard and its young people get access to the opportunities they deserve and the opportunity to realise their full potential’.