South Westland Jobs for Nature Outcomes Assessment: Evaluation Report

An outcomes assessment of the South Westland Jobs for Nature project, focusing on the arrangements for workforce sharing between the tourism and conservation workforces.

Executive summary

MBIE commissioned Allen + Clarke to undertake an outcomes assessment of the social, human and economic impacts of the South Westland Jobs for Nature (J4N) project, focusing on the arrangements for workforce sharing between the tourism and conservation workforces.

South Westland Jobs for Nature (J4N) project(external link) — Department of Conservation (DOC)

DOC allocation of J4N funding focused on providing employment opportunities to help revitalise communities through nature-based employment. In South Westland, the programme has a specific focus on sustaining regional communities and businesses through providing training and employment opportunities for businesses and their employees across a range of conservation and recreation areas.

The outcomes assessment focused on understanding 5 key areas:

  • the effectiveness of the joint workforce model
  • outcomes for communities
  • outcomes for participants
  • the potential for the programme to be extended
  • learning and improvements identified for if the programme was rolled out in the future.

Allen + Clarke has analysed data collected from key documents and surveys, interviews with key stakeholders and interviews and focus groups with tourism business operators and employees in South Westland.


Findings from the outcomes assessment indicate that the model was successful in supporting workforce and job security and retaining skilled workers in the area, as well as ensuring that individuals were matched appropriately to nature-based roles. Components of the model that led to its success included having a locally based community connector and building flexibility into the model.

Some challenges were identified, including delays in sign off for competencies for some participants, the administrative burden on some employers and misunderstandings about entitlements for employees.

The outcomes assessment identified substantial benefits for the South Westland region and individuals through the J4N project. These span across economic, social, mental and physical wellbeing domains. The J4N project promoted social cohesion, allowed businesses in the region to remain economically viable, and improved the tourism offering of the region. Individuals also benefitted physically, mentally and economically by being involved in the J4N project during the COVID-19 period.

Generally, there is a strong desire in the business community to see the programme continue into the future. However, findings suggest that buy-in from employees without long term connection to the region may be limited. Findings indicate that the job-sharing model has had a positive impact on the communities in the region and could provide solutions to issues such as seasonality in the region. However, there are differing views between varying stakeholders regarding the funding model expected to be used if the programme was continued in the region.

Due to the unique nature of the region, workforce and business context, a hybrid funding model seems the most likely to be successful in being sustainable and attracting buy-in from business, government and other stakeholders.

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Last updated: 17 May 2023