The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) today signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) with Talent Central, Central Skills Hub and Manfeild Park Trust’s National Driver Training Centre to encourage collaboration between these organisations, to develop pathways for employment in the priority sectors of primary, infrastructure and construction, and transport, logistics and distribution.
We know from our research that one of the biggest barriers to growth for Manawatū businesses is attracting the right skills and talent required. CEDA’s Business Sentiment Research, conducted in 2016 and 2019, indicated that a lack of talent remains the biggest barrier to doing business in Manawatū. In the 2019 research, 57% of businesses reported this to be a barrier which was up 8% on 2016. While not a challenge unique to our region, it does reinforce the need for collaborative and strategic approaches to building the talent pipeline by enabling businesses and organisations to not only attract experienced employees, but also to support strategic talent development for businesses to grow and become more sustainable.
CEDA’s Talent and Skills Manager, Sara Towers says, “CEDA has partnered with Talent Central and the Central Skills Hub before on several key projects and initiatives that align with the region’s strategic objectives and plans as a key enabler of talent development and employment opportunities. These partnerships involve monthly group meetings between the four organisations to share insights and develop and report on shared objectives around employment pathways in Manawatū, working collaboratively to develop our talent pipeline.”
“As the economic development agency for the Manawatū region, our role is to establish an environment of collaboration and common purpose with an overarching goal to create a unified approach to economic development across the region,” says Linda Stewart, CEO of CEDA.
Talent Central is a broad regional initiative that focusses on developing a work ready pipeline of people and connecting them with employment opportunities. We know that success across the region’s sectors depends on working with businesses to understand their workforce needs and connecting them with work ready employees that have the skills and knowledge required by industries, which Central Skills Hub supports. “We are looking forward to working jointly with CEDA mapping pathways for employment for these priority sectors,” says Mark Wootton, Talent Central and Central Skills Hub Manager.
Manawatū is currently engaged in several significant infrastructure projects such as the Central New Zealand Freight hub, Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, the Otaki to North of Levin expressway and the Palmerston North Integrated Transport Initiative. These projects will only increase the demand for skilled workers in the construction industry in the coming years.
Every business knows how important it is to find skilled staff and to provide them with the right training for the job. We are now in an environment where this is critical for our region with several significant infrastructure projects confirmed. With continued border restrictions, there is even more need for specialised regional training entities like the National Driver Training Centre (NDTC) to ensure there is a pipeline of trained workers to meet the growing demand in civil construction, logistics, distribution, infrastructure and in the primary sector. NDTC signed an MOU with the Central Skills Hub in June last year. This combined collaboration supports the valuable work that Talent Central is also doing in the skills sector. NDTC is a one-stop driver training facility based in Feilding where trainees and industry can come together. “Our custom-built, closed training environments are what really set us apart. We offer the opportunity to take Operator and Driver Training out of the yard, into a safe and secure, real-world simulation where people not only get high quality training from industry certified and experienced trainers but valuable practice time on machinery,” says Adrian Larkin, NDTC Manager.
“We are excited to see these initiatives come to life to connect more people in the region to employment opportunities, building our talent pool to keep up with our economic growth,” says Towers. “CEDA’s role in this partnership is primarily to lead the collaborative action and acting as a connector with the other three organisations and to set-up strategic working groups, establish regular meetings to enable communication and foster relationships,” Towers concludes.
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