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Connecting the redeployed

The success of the Turanga Ararau manaaki support for those on the Tairawhiti Economic Support Package Redeployment Programme is all due to connection, says employment services manager Ingrid Brown.

“It is about guiding, supporting and always emphasising that we are here for them,” she said.

Turanga Ararau has the pastoral care contract through the Ministry of Social Development.

With the programme stood up during Covid-19 lockdown, the challenge was to find the right people for the jobs with those coming being redeployed workers themselves, who had lost their jobs because of Covid or were unemployed or under employed.

The team works holistically with programme participants, helping them with accessing services, getting identification, bank accounts, driving licences and all sorts of things many people just take for granted.

Accessing and completing necessary online digital forms and information was often a challenge, as well as understanding the services that are there to help, including the likes of Whanau Ora who have assisted with emergency housing and Te Ku Whata Whata with their support for personal issues.

Turanga Ararau had brought on Rose's Driver Training Services too.

“She continues to go the extra mile, fitting in lessons around people's work.

“She really understands the goal at the end,” Ingrid said.

“It really does take a community to help all these people.”

Early on they worked with the kaitiaki crew on Whaia Titirangi where they brought in Parekura Brown for te reo sessions.

“It was something they wanted to do and even now they are still flourishing with those lessons . . . it really emphasises the whakawhanautanga (collaborating and being together).

“I think the term pastoral care sometimes confuses people, hence our re-naming it manaaki support.”

Each member of the team brings a vital skill set — Tamsin Ria was working with the kaitiaki crew at Te Wherowhero Lagoon but has a background as an MSD case manager. Luke Barbarich has plenty of experience in retail and hospitality and brings strong people skills, while Avon Moleta has a social worker background. With the team in place, they will continue to assist the redeployed workers for a year.

Ingrid is proud of her team who she said had also faced big learning curves but had thrived and continued to make a difference to those they were working with.

“Our doors are always open to help in any way.”

Turanga Ararau work very closely with MSD too.

“We all want the same goal at the end of the project – people into sustainable employment. We all work well together to make opportunities happen for our people,” she said.

“Our challenge is getting people out of their old habits and making them realise working is good for your wellness — you become a role model for your whanau, your extended whanau and the next generation.”

Ingrid praised the employers who had been part of the Redeployment Programme.

“I take my hat off to them for offering work for our people through this programme. They were taking on fresh people who they knew would sometimes come with issues and limited skills but they stepped up and worked with our people.

“After these projects, they come out with some really good skills and employers can see they have been working hard, gaining new qualifications and attributes that make them very employable.”

She felt the need for support like this for the community had been around a while but it was through the Redeployment Programme that people could see the benefits strong pastoral care brought with it.

The Redeployment Programme was established in response to the impacts of Covid-19 and has provided work and training for 236 people across five projects. It 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 come through the Ministry of Social Development, with the goal to ensure they not only find work but develop new skills, qualifications and the opportunity of meaningful, long-term employment.

ALL-ROUND CARE: The manaaki support team who have been working with many of those on the Tairawhiti Economic Support Package's Redeployment Programme (from left) Turanga Ararau employment services manager Ingrid Brown, Tamsin Ria, Avon Moleta and Luke Barbarich. Picture by The Black Balloon