Apple and kiwifruit businesses in Hawke’s Bay are joining forces to support local workers looking for sustainable long-term employment.
With help from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), a collaborative partnership has been established between T&G Global (Turners & Growers) and Ngai Tukairangi Trust (NTT) to provide on-going employment during different quiet periods experienced by both horticulture employers.
MSD’s Regional Labour Market Advisor, Robyn Leake is passionate about driving local employment opportunities.
“The apple and kiwifruit sectors have seasonal labour peaks and quiet times that could complement each other. We saw an opportunity through working relationships with both sectors, to work on employment options whereby staff could easily transfer from one employer to the other,” said Leake.
MSD and T&G Global have worked closely over the last decade to provide employment opportunities for locals and more recently MSD and Ngai Tukairangi Trust have been laying the foundations in which a strong and positive partnership is developing.
“Both companies share similar values concerning the well-being and retention of workers and employers were keen to explore innovative workforce solutions. This resulted in a three-way meeting to work collaboratively to meet the needs of staff and employers,“ said Leake.
Leake said the commitment and resourcing by both employers to work together to ensure that the workers feel valued and have an understanding of a sustainable career pathway option has been impressive.
Maurice Windle, T&G’s Supply and Services Manager said he and his team are always exploring ways to get locals into skilled and sustainable work.
“If we can join forces with our friends in the kiwifruit industry, to share those skills between sectors, keep people in jobs so they can work all year-round, and provide them with a clear career pathway for the future, then that’s a great solution,” he said.
T&G Global employees recently visited one of the Ngai Tukairangi Trust kiwifruit orchards and were given an overview of what early season kiwifruit work involves.
Richard Pentreath, Hawke’s Bay Regional Manager for Ngai Tukairangi Trust said that effectively managing staff numbers to meet peak demand at key times, whilst providing continuity of work for local people is a challenge faced by all fruit growers in Hawke’s Bay.
“By helping staff to move to further opportunities as existing jobs come to an end and narrowing the gap between seasons, apple and kiwifruit growers can both benefit by retaining skilled and work-ready individuals, who in turn, benefit from a smooth transition between employers and more secure income throughout the year.”
T&G Global’s recruitment team is already getting strong interest with 45 employees who are keen to take advantage of this opportunity and gain addition skills within the horticulture industry.