Young pro­fes­sion­als band­ing to­gether

South Waikato News - - Out & About - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Waratah engi­neers Luke Frog­ley and Rafat Khan are want­ing to start up a Toko­roa young pro­fes­sion­als group.

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