Young professionals banding together
An influx in major New Zealand companies setting up in the South Waikato has also resulted in an influx in young graduates finding employment.
In May the South Waikato District Council announced that for the first time in 20 years the district’s population had increased.
Companies with global markets such Blue Pacific Minerals and Waratah in Tokoroa and Fonterra’s $390 million expansion of its Lichfield plant have contributed by creating hundreds of new jobs.
But for young graduates, finding entertainment and connecting with other young people outside of work remains difficult.
With that in mind Waratah engineers Luke Frogley, 27, and Rafat Khan, 31, have decided to set up the Tokoroa Young Professionals Group for professionals in their 20s and 30s.
‘‘Tokoroa has a reputation for not attracting good graduates and skilled labourers but people don’t realise that there are a lot of people like ourselves who work and live here,’’ Khan said.
‘‘We want to be able to meet with like-minded people and get a bit of networking going and have some social activities.’’
Frogley, who is originally from Wellington, said it was all about changing mindsets and helping young people see that Tokoroa has more to offer than meets the eye.
‘‘A lot of young professionals think ‘why would I stay in Tok’, there is nothing here?’ ... but I’m happy living here so we want to foster that among other young professionals and show that the town has more opportunities than a lot of people realise,’’ he said.
‘‘Most young graduates face the same problems such as looking for activities to spend their weekends doing, flatting and accommodation, that sort of stuff, but with a group like this people will be able to ask where a good place is and where isn’t.’’
Khan - who is originally from Auckland - said it would also be a good way for local businesses to recruit and retain skilled workers.
‘‘One of the things we want to achieve is awareness among businesses about the group too because that way when they are hiring people they can refer to the group as one of the benefits of living and working in Tokoroa,’’ Khan added.
For more information phone or text 021 941 601.
Waratah engineers Luke Frogley and Rafat Khan are wanting to start up a Tokoroa young professionals group.