New actions to increase Hawke’s Bay primary sector workforce

FICA AdminMember Updates, News

New opportunities aimed at improving access to employment in the primary sector will be considered for incorporation into Matariki, Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been leading work in Hawke’s Bay aimed at increasing the uptake of employment in primary industries, one of the region’s largest sectors. The work is part of the Regional Growth Programme.

“Hawke’s Bay has over 25 per cent of its workforce employed in primary industries. There’s a growing need to attract more locals into primary sector to meet current and future growth,” says Ben Dalton, Head of the Regional Growth Programme at the Ministry for Primary Industries. “Increased economic growth will come from the primary sector and it’s estimated there will be between 3000-4400 new primary industries jobs by 2025 in the region.”

MPI, as an action point under Matariki, canvassed a group of Hawke’s Bay stakeholders about the feasibility of setting up a local joint venture primary industries training hub, however locals interviewed felt there was no need to progress this. Instead stakeholders provided MPI with potential opportunities aimed at improving the consistency and quality of local training in the region.

The opportunities include an increased focus on horticulture, viticulture and forestry, meeting specific workforce needs such as trained seasonal workers and supplying management, supervisors and logistics roles in the pipfruit industry. Stakeholders also asked for more collaboration between industry and tertiary training and an increased focus on skills gaps such as driver’s licenses, literacy and numeracy and improvements to the quality of training.

Immediate actions for MPI are to continue growing awareness of primary sector employment opportunities amongst young people, bringing together the local forestry sector to discuss recruiting and retaining trainees, and continuing work with local iwi and stakeholders to extend primary sector employment to at risk young people through Youth Employment Pathways. The Youth Employment Pathways programme supports young people, at risk of long term unemployment, into sustainable work.

The opportunities will be considered for inclusion in the refreshed action plan.

The Regional Growth Programme is an across government initiative co-led by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) which aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand.

A further break-down of recommendations can be found in the report, Investigation into the feasibility of a joint venture primary industry training hub in the Hawke’s Bay. The report can be accessed online at http://www.hbreds.nz/.