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Whanganui’s Te Pūwaha port revitalization project commits to creating 300 jobs

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Jobs created out of Te Pūwaha would include marine engineering, seamen, and trades. Photo / NZME

Whanganui’s port revitalization project has committed to developing more than 300 port-based roles.

“Initially based over a three-year time period, and after a slower than expected start (Covid, resourcing etc), we can share that we have achieved just short of 100,” Whanganui District Employment Training Trust (WDETT) chief executive Sally Ross got

WDETT is one of five partner groups steering Te Pūwaha, and is responsible for governing the Port Employment Precinct (PEP) to facilitate training development and job opportunities associated with the port revitalization project.

Ross said the results were appropriate for how far through the project was and the current labor market conditions.

“With some of the lowest unemployment levels on record, adding the extra stress of filling another 200 roles in an already extended labor market right now would be a recipe for failure. A slow steady pace is what we need.”

She said the roles that would be created were varied.

“Currently, roles are focused on civil construction and development of the port facilities.”

Ross said over time the roles would evolve.

“The obvious ones will be marine engineering and seamen skills; however, we expect this to broaden to include most trades as facilities are developed.

“This will then lead into industry development as businesses open and establish themselves at the port.

“This project isn’t just about jobs.

“It’s about creating career exciting opportunities with a focus on our Castlecliff community and rangatahi.”

Port Employment Precinct's recently appointed business activator Seletar Taputoro.  Photo / Supplied
Port Employment Precinct’s recently appointed business activator Seletar Taputoro. Photo / Supplied

PEP has appointed Seletar Taputoro as its business activator.

Taputoro said she wanted to bridge the gap between Whanganui’s young people and work opportunities.

“The employers need young people, and they want to train young people. It’s about how to connect those two,” Taputoro said.

“It’s about determining how we can support employers upskilling and retaining their staff and creating room for staff to grow within their organizations.

“My role is specifically related to the port and the Castlecliff community.”

The business activator role includes supporting the Port Employment Precinct to work as a conduit between youth, whānau, training providers, tertiary providers, government agencies, employers and iwi.

Taputoro has held various roles at local schools, including recently working to assist students at Te Kura o Kokohuia with career and study pathways.

She also established Whanganui Pākihi Māori and last year held the first Pākihi Māori Summit where businesses, services and stakeholders were able to showcase and connect.

“I whakapapa to the awa and the whenua where Te Pūwaha meets which makes this even more special,” she said.

“I connect through my blood but, more than that, it’s my passion. I just want to help people be the best version of themselves.”

She said Whanganui was leading the way with Te Pūwaha.

“It’s amazing as it binds us as people to the awa and the awa to us.”

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