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Industry Training - A key focus for SWIFT

INTRODUCTION

One of SWIFT’s key focus areas is facilitating specialised training for local businesses and industry.  SWIFT has funded over 60 participants through the Firestation Business Coaching programs for both start-ups, small businesses and those looking to accelerate growth.   Several of these businesses have gone on to employ further staff and expand their operations.

The regional economic development agency, Te Waka, have the contract for delivery of the Regional Business Partner (RBP) funding support in the Waikato.  SWIFT teamed up with Te Waka to see if there were better ways of promoting and delivering the support (up to $5000 vouchers) in the South Waikato.   SWIFT enrolled as an umbrella Service Provider and worked with Te Waka to get Rebekah Garner employed to liaise directly with local businesses.  SWDC is providing communications and the marketing promotion for the program.  Within a month, $75,000 worth of vouchers have been approved.

BACKGROUND

The Forest Industry has a shortage of skilled workers and with the Governments 1Bn Trees Program, the sector is anticipating strong growth – and not just from the trees.  This means trained workers are required across all aspects of forest silviculture, harvesting, logistics, processing, engineering and management. SWDC has run symposia with the Industry which identified the need for more training and also a representative body for the Central North Island (CNI).  As a result, the CNI Wood Council has just been formally established and incorporated and is based out of Tokoroa.  In addition, the highly successful Generation Program from Eastland is being adopted as a model for training locals in the South Waikato.

SWIFT has co-funded the development of the Business Case to date as a precursor to raising the funding needed to roll out the program across 3 years.  To date, $125,000 has been obtained but with still a lot more fund raising to go.  The aim is to train 100 youth for safe and well-paying jobs in the industry.