Highlights of our region’s achievements

Since the launch of our plan, our focus has turned to implementation. Below are some highlights of our region’s achievements over the past year. A more comprehensive list of progress on our Year one actions can be found in the 'Putting our plan into practice' section.

Conservation training and harnessing the environment

We have supported Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic to develop a new conservation training programme, supporting a regional initiative to boost economic growth through our environment.

The Certificate in Conservation (Operations) (Level 4) offers students hands-on learning in the use of machinery, pest, plant and animal control, and health and safety practices as well as covering conservation principles and policy. It prepares graduates for work on conservation projects in the region, supporting sustainability and biodiversity.

The initiative is the result of a partnership between us, Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic, and Development West Coast who jointly identified a gap in the workforce for skilled operational workers ready to get involved in conservation projects.  It also aims to provide a pathway for ākonga who have built a strong set of foundational skills through the Papa Taio school-based programme.

Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic plans to leverage off the Te Pūkenga network to bring the qualification to the West Coast in partnership with other education providers who deliver it elsewhere.  Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Director Strategic Initiatives, Vikki Roadley, says the project is a great example of West Coast agencies working together to meet the needs of the region.

“We are lucky on the West Coast to live in one of the most stunning environments in the world. By working together with other agencies on initiatives like this new training programme, we aim to harness that wonderful environment to boost regional growth, create jobs and benefit our wider community.”

The programme supports the regional initiative to develop a West Coast Conservation Centre of Excellence.

Photograph of male and female hikers walking in west coast bush.

Photo: Richard Rossiter

West Coast supported learning

Photograph of Patrick Green working in local supermarket standing in supermarket aisle with a clipboard.

Photo: Tai Poutini Polytechnic

Patrick Green enjoys getting up every day to study at Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic and his parents say the West Coast’s first-ever supported learning programme is giving him more confidence and maturity.

Patrick, 26, has Down Syndrome and lives at home with his parents in Hokitika. He keeps busy doing odd jobs and helping out in the community, but until now has never had the opportunity to study at a tertiary level.

Identifying a need in the community and working alongside health agencies and families to develop the programme, the Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic launched the Training Scheme in Hospitality Supported Learning (Level 1) this year. For the first time on the West Coast, students with learning disabilities can now seek tertiary training to prepare them for West Coast hospitality jobs.

His dad says that, since starting the training, he can see his son growing in maturity and self-confidence.

“Patrick has always been very sociable and enjoys being involved in the community.  We can see a positive difference in him this year since starting at the Polytech. He enjoys the challenge and variety of experiences during the course and is proud to complete the tasks and achieve the credits. We hope that this course will enable Patrick to get some hospitality work in the future.”

Te Pūkenga | Tai Poutini Polytechnic worked closely with parents, whānau, educators and support services to develop the programme. Students learn the basics of customer service, presentation and health and safety in a hospitality environment. The programme aims to prepare students for an entry-level position in the hospitality industry; it also supports the development of social and life skills and the ability to interact with the local community.

Disabled people and people with health conditions are a priority group in our RWP. We support this programme and have signalled to TEC in our 2024 funding advice the ongoing training need.

Youth employability – Licence to work flipped

Westland’s Youth Employability Programme (YEP) is like no other – it’s been flipped!

The programme now includes a range of skill-building and work experience opportunities encompassing a ‘West Coast flavour’ including outdoor skill development, site visits, and nationally recognised qualifications delivered by local providers.

Supported by the RSLG as part of developing work ready and soft skills for youth, the programme is delivered by Westland Mayors Task Force for Jobs. The action-packed 10-week part-time programme aimed at youth aged 16-24 supports young people gain employability skills.

Youth have the opportunity to gain a range of essential work-ready / soft skills such as communication, self-management, self-awareness, resilience, leadership and financial literacy.  Other benefits include work experience, skill-building, introduction to local workplaces, health & safety, drivers licence support Class 1-5, first aid training, curriculum vitae building, and outdoor leadership.

“The Youth Employability Programme empowers rangatahi to gain the insight, confidence and skills to get work, keep work and create careers”

Pascale Geoffrion, Mayors Task Force for Jobs Youth Facilitator.  

Youth gain a 'Licence to Work' certificate on completing the programme which demonstrates to employers that they are work ready.

“Meeting the employers in a casual setting takes the fear out of applying for jobs.”

Abbey, youth participant

Working together to achieve positive employment and training outcomes

Over the past 3 years, Government-funded initiatives have achieved positive employment and training outcomes for job seekers and employers across the region.

The following local and government agencies have joined forces to get New Zealanders into sustainable and suitable work: Ministry of Social Development, Development West Coast Upskill programme (PGF / Kanoa – MBIE) funded through Te Ara Mahi, and the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs – Community Resilience Programme run by the Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils (funded by MSD).

There are 3 rules that all these organisations and agencies use to lead this work - collaboration, probity (no duplication of funding for the same purpose) and keeping the candidate at the centre.

Because of their combined efforts, a range of supports on the West Coast are available to help local candidates and employers provide wage subsidies and help to buy work clothes and tools; training, drivers licensing and pastoral care.

The feedback from employers indicates these options and opportunities have allowed them take on additional staff over the last few years.

Roles have been filled from a range of industries including manufacturing, engineering, construction, primary, social assistance, and food services.

The partnership has also created a number of opportunities to collaborate on events, share networks, learn together and achieve the best outcomes for the West Coast community.

Photograph of Tai Poutini Polytechnic female student in overalls working on a car engine.

Photo: Tai Poutini Polytechnic