Publish date: 28/10/2020

A partnership between the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) aimed at lessening the local unemployment fallout from Covid-19 is proving successful.

Michelle Becks from MSD Rangiora has been stationed in the ENC office for the past five months matching North Canterbury job seekers with vacancies, helping businesses to redeploy staff where possible and providing information and support for those dealing with redundancies. She has also been working to match apprentices with local businesses under MSD’s Apprenticeship Boost Scheme.

Misco Joinery is one local business that worked with Michelle to take on new apprentices under the Apprenticeship Boost Scheme.

Penny Abell of Misco Joinery says, “We have two apprentices starting in February under the Apprenticeship Boost Scheme. The scheme has been very easy to use, with no hassles. From past experience we know that apprentices are a great asset to our business. They come along with a good work ethic and are keen to learn, especially when they know you are investing in their future.”

The latest unemployment statistics released by MSD this month show relatively positive results for the North Canterbury region.

“Latest statistics show that Waimakariri has fared better than expected in terms of unemployment following the Covid-19 lockdown,” explains ENC Business Support Manager Miles Dalton.

“Following the initial jump in job seekers registering with MSD, figures have either dropped or stayed steady which is no small feat in the current climate. Our business support team and Michelle have worked very hard to keep these numbers down and we are definitely seeing the results of those efforts here.”

Connected.govt.nz is a new all of government website providing resources for employers, job seekers and people seeking information about training to explore their options and find links to agency websites for more detailed information. The website is supported by a Connected phone line (0800 264 737) and physical Connected locations operating in 35 of MSD’s employment-focused sites around the country, including Rangiora, and three of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Jobs and Skills Hubs. The Connected locations are available for employers to meet job seekers to discuss vacancies and upcoming opportunities and to find out about the support available for recruitment.

Tina Robinson, Service Centre Manager at Rangiora Work and Income says, “Through Connected, we will be able to better support people to navigate the range of services available in the regions where they live and work, and to increase connection across agencies so that employers know how and where to access the services available and where they can go for support.

“I encourage people to use the Connected website as a starting point, and to contact us by email for more information on myjobsearch_rangiora@workandincome.govt.nz.

ENC Chief Executive Heather Warwick says the partnership with MSD has been invaluable.

“Having Michelle here on site working with our Business Support team during the past few months has been incredible. Her knowledge, experience and access to MSD’s range of services has helped so many North Canterbury jobseekers and businesses remain viable through this uncertain time.

“For some, the stress and worry of Covid-19 has lessened, but we know there are many businesses and job seekers who still need our help and we encourage them to reach out to our Business Support team or Michelle to access the support they need.”