Ara Rau buzzing like never before


The Ara Rau Skills and Employment Hub has been buzzing with more young people than ever before! With such a tight labour and skills market, there’s been no shortage of rangatahi looking to make their first steps into training and upskilling as they aim for new employment opportunities.

Mary Stewart, Operations Manager for Ara Rau, is focused on connecting these young people with the training and employment sector in Tauranga and making the most of the current climate of job opportunities.

In recent months, we’ve hosted two successful industry open days that highlighted the abundance of jobs that are out there and demonstrated pathways to the many upcoming roles in the industry” says Mary.

Totalling 5 to date, Ara Rau’s collaborative Industry Open Days have continued to attract large numbers of youth keen to learn about what’s on offer. The GIB IOD, held in mid-May, attracted 120 attendees as they look to fill the 100 permanent positions needed for their new Winstone Wallboards GIB warehouse in Tauriko – set to go into full production by 2023.

Ara Rau Higgin’s Industry Open Day

Followed one week later by the Higgins Construction and Infrastructure IOD, held at a live construction site, 77 eager job seekers came for some first-hand experience of the industry. Both IODs provided the opportunity for face-to-face interactions between future employers and employees. “This direct contact has been hugely valuable in creating opportunities for work with Ara Rau, who are working alongside to help with CVs, ID, transport, interview skills and removing any barriers to employment” says Mary.

To keep up with everything that’s going on in the Ara Rau Hub, and to provide some one-on-one mentorship with rangatahi looking for work, we recently welcomed Michelle Clarke to the team as our new Employment Mentor. Michelle’s role is to develop personal plans towards training and employment, removing the barriers along the way to ensure positive outcomes.

Ara Rau’s main area of focus is with young NEETs – rangatahi who are Not in Education, Employment or Training. We are engaging with schools, iwi, social services and government agencies who are referring a steady stream of rangatahi to Ara Rau, where we can really take the time to work with them and identify a pathway that works for the individual” says Michelle.

Support starts with a vocational coaching session with the Ara Rau in-office Career Practitioner, Hana Lambert from Rata Careers, to identify the strengths and aspirations of each individual. Then a pipeline is created, either to a training programme and then on to work, or straight into the workforce. Along the way Ara Rau helps with overcoming barriers such as drivers licence (through Bluelight Trust), CVs, etc., and develops bespoke pathways to fit each individual.

Bronson Tumai from the Higgins Chip Seal Team

We are super proud of our young people and their achievements. We had a sixteen year old boy who had not been to school since he was ten, come along to the Higgins IOD, keen to get work. Despite his disadvantage, he has gained his learners licence and set up a bank account. He is enrolled with the Live for More programme to develop a healthy lifestyle, and making progress towards his full driver’s licence. After coming along to the Higgins IOD and meeting Bronson Tumai he’s now working towards his ultimate goal of joining Bronson and the crew on the Higgins Chip Seal Team.” says Mary.

If you want to get in contact and learn more about Ara Rau, you can reach us at: