At the 2016 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards
A conversation between the mayors of Kawerau and Matamata-Piako district councils led to an innovative collaborative programme that has helped unemployed people into jobs and supported a key local business.
The Seamless Boundaries job creation programme, run between the two councils, has seen jobless Kawerau people relocating to Te Aroha to work for Silver Fern Farms. Judges praised the scheme as “a practical response which brings together people wanting to work, with an employer looking for a stable workforce”.
Kawerau mayor Malcolm Campbell and Matamata-Piako District Council mayor Jan Barnes are both strong advocates of the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs and support exploring innovative solutions to long-standing problems.
In April 2015 they discussed how a number of people in Kawerau were struggling to find jobs while Silver Fern Farms, one of Matamata-Piako’s largest employers, was having difficulty fulfilling recruitment needs.
They recognised that the councils could partner in addressing both these issues through finding opportunities with Silver Fern Farms for those in Kawerau who might otherwise struggle to find sustainable employment.
Stakeholders were consulted and terms of reference developed and 40 Kawerau workers, of mixed ages, have since relocated for employment with the company. The driving objective of the project has been to create an environment where both employer and employee felt supported and motivated to maintain the relationship.
The councils and Silver Fern Farms have taken a holistic approach, with appropriate support put in place for family members remaining in Kawerau. Accommodation and high-quality wrap-around pastoral support was also provided to help those moving to Te Aroha. And monitoring programmes around timekeeping, being drug and alcohol free, and training and production values were provided to help keep people on track.
This article was first published in the August 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.