Progress report: December 2022

The Bay of Plenty Regional Workforce Plan sets out the actions for the RSLG. This update covers the actions that are the Group’s current focus.

Message from the RSLG Co-Chairs

The Bay of Plenty RSLG has elected to place significant weight on achievement through building relationships and partnerships, based on the foundation of the Regional Workforce Plan guided by Mā te Māori and Mō te Māori. By doing this, we can work smarter to ensure our region fairly shares prosperity among all our communities by facilitating the development of stronger and more resilient workforce pipelines. Since launching the plan back in July, we have focussed on co-ordinating regional efforts leveraging collective fortitude to make a larger impact than we could have achieved as individual actors. While this update does not provide consideration across all RWP actions, it does give a sense of what our work around implementing the Plan has yielded so far. Finally, we wish to express our gratitude as regional stakeholders for your continued collegiality in standing side by side with the Bay of Plenty RSLG as we forge ahead with the implementation of our workforce plan.

Progress on actions from the Regional Workforce Plan

The Bay of Plenty Regional Workforce Plan sets out the actions for the RSLG. This update covers the actions that are the Group’s current focus. Some of the actions in the RWP are scheduled to be undertaken in future years.

Bay of Plenty Regional Workforce Plan

Action: Seasonality

Overarching action: Define BOP cross-sector seasonality workforce patterns (horticulture, forestry, aquaculture, tourism, agriculture) for the full region to better inform future planning:

  • Sub Action 1: Undertake research to build a complete picture of the seasonality patterns across BOP to then validate if under-employment is an issue or an opportunity.
  • Sub Action 2: Research to better identify what the real and perceived barriers are, including drivers licencing, digital capability, accommodation, and transport, and earn while you learn initiatives.

Key milestone

  • A business case has been drafted in collaboration with the Ministry for Primary Industries seeking funding towards a research project on Seasonality. Without adequate resourcing, the relevant actions cannot be prioritised to implement the desired impacts in the Bay of Plenty Regional Workforce Plan.
  • For business case development, RSLG worked with regional stakeholders, collating seasonality research including key data contained in the New Zealand Kiwifruit Seasonal Labour report 2022 compiled by the Ministry of Social Development. Such research will help inform workforce planning across the industry.
  • A sub-group for seasonality has been formed as part of the RSLG (first meeting, November 2022) comprising: Aquaculture NZ, NZKGI, Te Uru Rākau, the Forestry Workforce Council and Muka Tangata – Tourism BOP and Horticulture NZ have also been asked to join. The sub-group will help advance implementation of seasonality actions via the Regional Workforce Plan.

Anticipated outcome

  • The business case developed for seasonality research will be submitted to the Food & Fibre CoVE in early 2023, seeking funding.
  • The research will be geared towards completing the seasonality “picture” across the Bay garnering opportunities to help close labour market gaps by building resilient workforce pipelines (Sub Action 1).
  • Evidence will also be gathered on barriers to the seasonality labour market e.g., driver licensing and employment legislation that may stop entry of individuals into local jobs or the transferability of skills (unless you are a casual worker) between relevant sectors intra/inter regionally (Sub Action 2).
  • Removal of such barriers will enable workforce participation and skills transition between employers maintaining business continuities including permanent employment of a significant number of people.

Action: Climate change

Facilitate climate adaptation and workforce resilience discussions between iwi, community and industry to identify actions they can take now; including education and employment-related actions e.g., linking rangatahi to relevant tertiary courses, scholarships, internships, and work experience.

Key milestone

  • RSLG is broaching climate adaptation and workforce resilience discussions in the region having partnered with Ngati Whakaue, Maketu at the end of 2021, at local awareness building wananga (based at marae) on the connection between climate change and impacts on the local environment. Currently, there is little to no consideration of the workforce in climate change plans/strategies or discussions in the region.
  • The RSLG provided the workforce component of the project to foster awareness in the community on the workforce implications of climate change. The Group is looking to encourage such partnerships in other sub-regions.

Anticipated outcome

  • The roll out of climate adaptation and workforce resilience discussions (including the promotion of exemplar firms e.g., Scion who has embraced climate change requirements) across the region will encourage individuals/businesses to transition into becoming future ready for work.
  • RSLG has also been engaging with local regional councils to drive forward workforce planning through council long term plans. This discussion was started at the Bay of Connections Leadership Group hui highlighting key RWP climate change actions for the group and will facilitate meaningful planning between communities and current/future BoP climate change adaptation leaders.

Highlights from the last 6 months

Rangatahi aspirations: One practical step the Group has taken to increase involvement of rangatahi in RSLG work is inviting them along to provide input at RSLG events – for example, one young leader from a local secondary school spoke alongside Minister Tinetti at the Bay of Plenty Regional Workforce Plan launch about rangatahi aspirations concerning educational/training opportunities with the hope that this will lead onto securing a bright future working in meaningful employment. To this end, the Group is working towards inviting young people from the Priority One Instep programme to attend RSLG hui over the next six months to grow their leadership skills and give rangatahi a voice/influence over local labour market outcomes.

Aquaculture in the Bay of Plenty: Aquaculture in the Bay of Plenty is gaining momentum particularly in the eastern bay. The RSLG is working with industry and regional employers to ensure the wide range of activity taking full advantage of the opportunities aquaculture presents is prioritised. The Group is doing this by staying engaged with key stakeholders such as Open Oceans – Whākatōhea Mussels and Te Whānau-a-Apanui via their Te Huata Charitable Trust – tracking the sector’s progress against Regional Workforce Plan actions. In November, the RSLG engaged in a regional aquaculture hui. The outcome of the hui was stakeholder recognition that co-ordination of regional labour market activity is important – an accessible and editable online dashboard was created coordinating regional work in one place.

Backing the Māori economy: Te Moana a Toi Truffles is a new entity established to join seven Māori owned land blocks and will be the first Māori truffle collective in New Zealand. It will provide Māori with the potential to have a role in the development of this high value export industry. This industry provides substantial returns per hectare, as well as creating seasonal jobs in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. This project aligns with the Resilience aspiration in the Regional Workforce Plan, which emphasises partnering with iwi/hapū and Māori employers around worker support and providing opportunities to improve Māori resilience, including supporting growth and scaling of their efforts.

Looking forward to 2023

Beginning work on Digital Technology micro-credentials partnering with Toimai in early 2023 looking at exemplars of successful micro-credential programmes (such as the MindLab – Digital Skills for the Workplace programme) to potentially replicate across the BoP. The Group will also begin work with regional Economic Development Agencies on telling the story for tech in the Bay focusing on the great work and opportunities the tech sector already offers in the region.

Pulling in the Rotorua Youth Centre into workforce resilience conversation at RSLG hui to better understand their approach to rangatahi resilience in the workforce – this will be done in consideration of similar work already underway with the Manawa Tū Work for Life Centre.

Last updated: 08 March 2023