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Te Puni Kōkiri initiative with employers commended for helping Māori get jobs

Submitted by on December 16, 2013 – 6:38 pm

Media Release: State Services Commission

Graduates of the InfraTrain NZ Wahine Toa programme holding their NZQF Level 4 National Diploma in Business (First Line Management) certificates. Credit: State Services Commission

Graduates of the InfraTrain NZ Wahine Toa programme holding their NZQF Level 4 National Diploma in Business (First Line Management) certificates.
Credit: State Services Commission

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today commended the Te Puni Kōkiri cadetships initiative for helping hundreds of Māori get work experience and jobs.

The initiative is a collaborative project where Te Puni Kōkiri is working with some of the biggest private employers in New Zealand including Transfield, Fletcher Building, Fulton Hogan, Downer, Vodafone, Genesis Energy, and the Bank of New Zealand.

“This is another fine example of delivering better public services – where you have a Public Service department working with the private sector to achieve results that matter to New Zealanders,” Mr Rennie said.

“This collaborative and innovative approach to help Māori find meaningful and sustainable employment is working very successfully. We need to see this sort of approach adapted more and more in the wider State services,” the Commissioner added.

The cadetships initiative provides Māori who are new to the workforce or with low qualifications the opportunity to gain work experience, obtain higher-level qualifications and build industry networks. It has employed 547 cadets since the initiative started in 2009/10.

Engaging employers

“The success of this programme was achieved by engaging employers in growth industries,” said Patsie Karauria, Social Policy Director at Te Puni Kōkiri.

“We partner with employers to recruit, train, mentor and provide at least six months paid employment to Māori cadets. Ninety five percent (95%) of cadets have remained employed in their industries well past the initial six month programme, which is really noteworthy,” Ms Karauria said.

Cadets, parents satisfied

Angela McNeil, one of the participating Downer cadets said, “I have recently had the pleasure of participating in the Infratrain NZ Wahine Toa leadership programme which was an elevating experience and was time well spent both in a personal and professional capacity.”

Parents have also expressed satisfaction with the initiative. One mother shared, “I have seen my son blossom with new experiences.  After working for a few months, he was offered an apprenticeship. When his twin brother asked if he should accept a diesel mechanic apprenticeship or work on the fishing boats, my son said ‘always think of your future – an apprenticeship will set you up with a career and you can always buy a boat later and fish all you want.’”

Employer’s investment

“In the communities that we work within, it is important to have a good reflection of Māori in management roles.  We are dealing daily with local iwi, and we lead and manage large workforces of Māori staff.  These cadetships allow us to invest in good staff who we hope will become future leaders in our business,” a representative from Fulton Hogan said.

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