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Flying high on new career path

The aviation industry has long held a place in the heart of Trish Riki but as pastoral care/manaaki support for the Tairawhiti Economic Support Package's Redeployment Programme she has found something else that makes her heart soar.

Trish was an Air New Zealand customer services agent at Gisborne Airport and opted to take a year's leave without pay when Covid-19 struck.

“The aviation sector was hit hard and our hours were greatly reduced because there just weren't the number of flights coming and going from here,” Trish said.

She said she needed to find full-time work after buying a house earlier in the year and jumped at the chance to join Turanga Ararau as part of the redeployment programme response. Now, she is helping people who were similarly affected by Covid and the impact the virus has had on Tairawhiti.

“I am loving this role.”

Trish is part of a three-strong team who become involved once the person is recruited and cover areas such as wellbeing and health, training, financial literacy, producing and updating CVs and assisting participants with the next steps in their employment journeys. Turanga Ararau is contracted by the Ministry of Social Development to deliver the pastoral care component of the programme.

“We work with such a wide range of organisations and each is quite different in its approach but we are seeing that employers and employees see the benefit from our involvement. We work with people from all walks of life with differing needs and circumstances. There is no one size fits all.

“Everything is tailored to the individual.”

Trish and the team help remove barriers for programme participants, with things like getting drivers licences, connecting with relevant professional service providers, transport options, setting up bank accounts, emails and more. They are often things that sound so small but can prevent people from working.

“The majority of participants have been given a new lease of life – they are retraining, developing a real camaraderie with their fellow workers and motivated for the next stage of their employment journey,” .

“These projects are short term but are pathways to sustainable employment – it is so encouraging to see them starting to believe in themselves again. It is amazing to see the difference this programme is making to the lives of so many.”

All involved were working together for one end goal.

“It is about the people, for their families, getting food on the table, and a sense of purpose and worth.”

Trish feels her work with the programme combines a little of everything from her life's experiences and career choices, but most importantly hold people at the centre.

“It is a combination of all my skills wrapped in one. It is community-based, which I love and I enjoy working with the various organisations, participants, MSD, Gisborne District Council and others on the redeployment programme.

“The way we all work to support the employee is definitely the way moving forward for organisations,” she said.

“It empowers employees who feel the support that allows them to bring their best to work.”

There are five projects in the $23.755m Redeployment Programme which was established in response to the impacts of Covid-19 and aims to provide work and training for up to 200 people, giving each one the opportunity of meaningful, long-term employment.

The programme is funded through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, administered by the Provincial Development Unit and managed by Gisborne District Council. All those on the programme are referred through MSD.

VITAL SUPPORT: Trish Riki says the collaborative approach to the Tairawhiti Redeployment Programme is reaping benefits for the wider community. Photo by The Black Balloon