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Jobs on offer at redeployment ‘speed dating’

Candidates from the Tairawhiti Economic Support Package Redeployment Programme attend speed interview hui, organised by Turanga Ararau.

It was speed “dating” with a difference in Gisborne District Council chambers on Thursday when employers keen for workers had the chance to interview candidates from the Tairawhiti Economic Support Package Redeployment Programme.

More than 120 positions were available through the employers who attended the speed interviews. Programme participants, who came from the Whaia Titirangi, gardens and cemetery crews, had four-minute interviews with company representatives, coming from horticulture, meat processing and construction industries.

It is the first time this has been done under the redeployment programme umbrella and programme manager Glenis Philip-Barbara says it is unlikely to be the last.

“This has been hugely successful,” she said.

“It is great to be able to connect local businesses needing permanent positions filled and redeployed workers looking for work. Everyone here is so committed to supporting candidates to achieve — it's great.”

Those sentiments were endorsed by the prospective employers. Meat processing plant Ovation New Zealand was looking to fill 120 seasonal positions. Process support officer Ken Gooding said the speed interviews were a win for all.

“It worked really well,” he said.

“I met a lot of people and will be following up with many of them.”

LeaderBrand was looking to fill around 16 full-time positions between the lettuce and broccoli growing and harvesting divisions. Lettuce harvest operations manager Antz Westrupp said it was heartening to see a range of people, including some who would possibly be suitable for supervisor roles.

Broccoli operations manager Charlie Allen said he would be happy to give anyone interested a chance to try the mahi with his teams.

McNatty Construction had recently set up a new branch in Gisborne after years of working in the region. Managing director Dave McNatty saw “definite benefit” in the speed interviews while the company's compliance and HR manager, Niki Sinden-White felt the candidates had been well prepared.

The speed interview hui was organised by Turanga Ararau.

Employers present had a chance to introduce themselves and “sell” their employment opportunity to the crowd before the interviews got under way.

Trish Riki, who oversees the pastoral care support, said plenty of preparation had gone into getting the programme ‘grads' ready for the day.

“We made sure CVs were updated; giving candidates a brief about what to expect and helping build confidence coming into the event,” Ms Riki said.

“As this is our first time organising this style of event, we were keen to emphasise timings of the schedule, as there are many logistical factors and variables we need to manage to maintain a professional and smooth event. It is also an exciting opportunity to create excellent connections between employers and candidates.

“It was a positive and productive experience for employers while the candidates gained experience in the interview process — that's a win-win.”

Ms Riki knew of at least one business that walked away with a new employee after the hui.

The $23.755m Redeployment Programme is in response to the impacts of Covid-19, aiming to provide work and training for up to 200 local people. It is funded through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, administered by the Provincial Development Unit and managed by Gisborne District Council.

The bigger goal for those on the programme is to help them find work in the short term, while learning new skills, working toward qualifications, with the opportunity of meaningful, long term employment.

Ovation process support officer Ken Gooding (left) with Tairawhiti Economic Support Package Redeployment Programme candidate Fraser Brown at a 'speed-dating' interviews hui yesterday. Employers and prospective employees had four minutes together to find out about jobs on offer, and for the interviewee to talk about their skills. Turanga Ararau organised the hui, and helped candidates prepare. Picture by The Black Balloon