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Jobs for Coast the ‘key goal’

Rua Bioscience committed to sustainable employment.

Rua Bioscience's commitment to creating more sustainable employment opportunities in the Waiapu Valley remains a core goal of the company, says co-founder Manu Caddie.

Part of this commitment includes direct investment in local residents, especially young people, to upskill in areas of relevance to the business so that more locals have the necessary training and experience to take up roles with the company as it grows.

“When the company was set up we really wanted to create opportunities for local whanau to be employed in this new industry,” said Mr Caddie following the announcement the company had been granted a commercial licence to grow and supply cannabis-derived medicines.

“That is still a key goal.

“Rua Bioscience is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company which requires a lot of highly specialised skills and we need to provide support and guidance for locals interested in developing those skills.

“We have connected with groups of local students at high schools and EIT over the past couple of years, and we want to formalise those interactions, provide more resources for career planning and offer financial support for some outstanding students to go on to do tertiary studies in areas relevant to our industry and company.”

The Rua Bioscience board has initially committed $50,000 for the current financial year.

“If the initiatives supported have a positive impact we expect a similar level of annual investment in community development into the future,” Mr Caddie said.

“We expect this investment will provide practical help and make it easier for some Coasties to get qualifications and experience that lead to jobs with us and other companies in the region.

“We desperately need to diversify the economy on the Coast, establish more sustainable industries and create higher value products that help heal whanau and whenua,” he said.

The range of activities to be funded (initially up to $50,000 a year from Rua with additional funding and in-kind support from research partners and other organisations) include a combination of —

■ Summer internships with research partners in Auckland, Wellington and/or Dunedin.

■ Exposure trips for groups of locals to visit research and commercial partners around Aotearoa.

■ Undergraduate scholarships for school leavers and EIT Ruatoria graduates to go on to university or other tertiary studies in biology, chemistry, medicine, horticulture, engineering, health, te reo me ona tikanga, accounting, law, marketing or other disciplines of relevance to the company.

■ Graduate placements (with support from other organisations) to provide employment for university graduates.

■ Career guidance for those interested in joining the medicinal cannabis sector.

■ Student exposure experiences with Rua Bioscience staff visiting groups of school students to explain their work, background and advice for young people interested in the industry.

■ Independent environmental monitoring support for ahi kaa involved in resource consent applications and consent monitoring activities.

“We are working with a range of stakeholders to finalise details for the various opportunities,” Mr Caddie said.

“Information on eligibility and how locals can apply for these opportunities will be shared in coming months and publicised through Radio Ngati Porou, social media and community hui.”