Priority One’s year in review: Talent & Education

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Priority One’s regional talent strategy supports Tauranga Moana to build its reputation for skilled talent and talent development. We focus on investing in local talent and connecting local businesses with the people they need to be able to grow sustainably. The Western Bay of Plenty subregion has huge potential as a talent magnet, but it’s also critical that we support everyone already in our rohe to develop their skills to get a quality job and earn a decent income.

Ara Rau

Ara Rau – Pathways to Work supports some of the most vulnerable members of our community, especially rangatahi not in employment, education or training (NEETs). We must help get these young people into good jobs, and it’s heartening that our Ara Rau team have seen substantial success over the past 12 months, including securing $1m worth of new funding from the Ministry of Social Development in 2022/23. This funding has enabled Ara Rau to increase its service offering and grow to a team of three. Demand for Ara Rau’s services during the 2022/23 period has increased significantly – by both businesses needing and being open to training entry-level employees and rangatahi needing support into mahi. During the reporting period, Ara Rau supported 132 people into jobs and training across 27 businesses in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region.

Collaborative Talent Planning

Priority One delivered a Professional Services and Technology Sector Talent Plan, bringing together 34 local tech and professional services businesses to develop a set of agreed actions supporting industry skill needs. As a result, several new talent initiatives were delivered, including:

  1. Work Life Tauranga – a regional talent attraction tool.
  2. Business Beyond Usual – an employer upskilling series of educational events to help prepare local businesses for the future of work.
  3. Growing Tauranga Moana’s reputation as a tertiary destination of choice.

Work also included planning a Horticulture Sector Talent Plan to be delivered in 2023/24.

Work Life Tauranga

Work Life Tauranga is a talent attraction tool redeveloped and launched to support the needs of a growing job market and projections of 40,000 more local jobs by 2050. Work Life Tauranga, previously known as Wish You Were Working Here, was co-designed with local employers and is a data-driven, integrated online platform aligned to targeted skills personas and local employer needs. The site’s analytics will help support targeted regional talent attraction campaigns and provide insight to help guide Priority One’s regional talent strategy.

Business Beyond Usual

Business Beyond Usual is an event series initiated by Priority One and delivered in partnership with Datacom that supports local businesses to explore, discover and prepare for a ‘Future of Work’ that will look very different to today. The first event, held in May 2023, shared key insights from six talented businesspeople on the influence of Artificial Intelligence to an audience of over 100 people.

University City Strategy

Priority One, Tauranga City Council and the University of Waikato entered into a collaborative partnership to grow the city’s reputation as a tertiary study destination leading to good local employment outcomes. During the year, the University of Waikato established a fourth year offering for Mechatronics and Civil Engineering at the Tauranga campus; the Tauranga Moana Futures program was initiated, providing local students with scholarships, study awards and work experience opportunities during their university study in Tauranga Moana; and 46 university students from around the country participated in the Summer Open Lab which helps to connect students working in local firms during the summer break, whilst also providing industry-led professional development. Progress was also made in planning for student accommodation requirements.

Talent and Investment Attraction

Talent and investment attraction programmes were revitalised in 2022/23 following previous COVID-19 border restrictions. Priority One and partners, including WNT Ventures, Enterprise Angels, Malcolm Pacific, Virtuo and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, delivered six offshore investor migrant events in the United States of America and Singapore.

Priority One Instep Programme

20 years of fostering partnerships between schools and businesses through the Instep programme. Throughout 2022/23, Instep engaged 3,835 students from the sub-region’s 11 secondary schools in activities to showcase local career pathways and connect rangatahi to work opportunities. Instep Young Leaders’ Forum saw 34 students from around the region interact with local businesses to explore essential leadership skills such as collaboration, networking, and communication. Instep also organised the annual Canvas Careers Expo in partnership with the Rotary Club of Tauranga. The two-day event attracted approximately 2,200 people to explore career and education options.

Education Tauranga

International Education resumed in 2022/23 following COVID-19 disruptions. In September 2022, for the first time since 2019, Priority One, Education Tauranga and 23 primary and secondary school leaders from the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region travelled to Japan and South Korea to showcase the region’s education opportunities to prospective international students. Since then, Education Tauranga has modernised its brand and collateral, to keep Tauranga as a prime destination for international students.