The government is to get independent Manawatū-Whanganui advice from a Regional Skills Leadership Group being formed to advise it on the reemployment, redeployment and retraining of workers and business owners who have lost their jobs or businesses.
“While planned before the arrival of COVID-19, we’ve acted quickly to get regional groups going because as COVID-19 impacts the labour market, this work is now more important than ever,” says Employment Minister Willie Jackson.
“The Manawatū-Whanganui group is one of 15 across the country to drive a joined-up approach to labour market planning. It will see our workforce, education and immigration systems working together to better meet differing needs,” Minister Jackson said.
The Manawatū-Whanganui Group is being chaired by Ruma Karaitiana, who also Chairs Rangitāne o Manawatū Kaitiaki Limited and Rangitāne o Manawatū Investment Trust.
“Initially, we will be the eyes and the ears of government on the ground as we transition from emergency to a long-term recovery,” said Ruma Karaitiana.
“We will work to get our region the best possible support with this group emerging from the existing Manawatū-Whanganui Accelerate25 Skills and Talent Advisory Group.
“Among its membership are councils, industry leaders, economic development agencies, as well as iwi, worker and government representatives supported by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation,” Ruma Karaitiana added.
Linda Stewart, CEDA’s CEO, who has been appointed to the Regional Skills Leadership Group, sees it as an opportunity to build for the future from what the region has so far achieved responding to COVID-19.
“With a massive multi-billion-dollar investment pipeline underway, we have a real opportunity for a coordinated regional response across industry, education and immigration to address what our region needs to grow and prosper,” Ms Stewart says.
“It is heartening to have industry and iwi expertise and knowledge at the table from the outset and alongside government agencies. This means we can work together to ensure that training, qualifications, and policies are not only fit for purpose, but are future focussed.
“The Regional Skills Leadership Group will help to enable this by ensuring that training is aligned to both employer needs and those of the region.
“In the longer term, this work will inform Regional Workforce Plans from which labour supply needs will be projected to ensure that regions, like Manawatū-Whanganui, have the right skills and workforce planning to seize economic opportunities,” Ms Stewart said.
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