Pou 3 – Wāhine in the workforce

Ngā Wāhine ki te Ohu Mahi

Our rohe has an opportunity for business to benefit from increased labour and skills by being more inclusive and flexible to the needs of wāhine as kaimahi. This includes assisting their skill development as well as support to overcome any challenges they may face. These challenges can include a lack of self-confidence, childcare responsibilities, and the need to update skillsets.

The Development Hub – Wāhine Toa Programme is a holistic initiative supporting wāhine into the workforce within our rohe, is. Through helping over 150 wāhine into decent employment they have identified common major barriers to employment as:

  • Inadequate housing
  • Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)
  • Family and gender-based violence
  • Economic barriers
  • Lack of positive social connectedness
  • Mental health and wellbeing issues.

The programme coordinators identified that there is far more needed to support wāhine back into work than just an offer of employment. “The need for employment is the drawcard, getting individuals through the door, and only once someone feels connected can we begin to address some of the other challenges they face.”

Two females and young child working on phone and laptop

Case Study – Wāhine Ora Programme, Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui a Orotū

Mātai Take – Te hōtaka o Wāhine Ora, Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui a Orotū

The Wāhine Ora Programme supports wāhine Māori to transition into sustainable employment through mentoring, personal and professional development workshops, pastoral care and training, education, and employment pathways. The key to the program’s success is working with wāhine and providing pastoral support from the nannies from the eight marae of the Taiwhenua throughout Ahuriri, Napier. The Taiwhenua links with industry and businesses to provide opportunities for wāhine in:

  • Administration
  • Health
  • Social Services
  • Aged Care
  • Education
  • Horticulture and Te Taiao.

Over the last 2 years the programme has focussed on wāhine impacted by COVID-19. Many wāhine were displaced and needed help to re-enter the workforce. Other issues the Taiwhenua has focussed on include ensuring workable ‘mummy hours’ for wāhine with tamariki.

During the course of the last 18 months, the Wāhine Ora programme has helped over 90 wāhine into sustainable employment outcomes and continues to work on training and placing wāhine into employment. Many young wāhine have undergone training in self-development, administration, building confidence and working towards achieving goals. A young 23-year-old wāhine on the program said “I want to change to something more fulfilling, not just be doing any job”. She had good customer service experience and was interested in health, social services, community mahi and aged care. “I want to be true to my family story by following in my nan’s footsteps” The support of the Wāhine Ora programme resulted in her being offered mahi in a Whānau Engagement Administrator position.

This programme has provided the help required and gave her the confidence to pursue a fulfilling career pathway. “The Taiwhenua really helped me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of the Taiwhenua”.