Steve Scott is a man who knows how to put things to­gether. Gor­don Brown re­ports.

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page -

New Ply­mouth busi­ness­man Steve Scott is best known for his work on the Len Lye Cen­tre.

For many the ex­te­rior is the un­doubted star of the gallery and is surely the most pho­tographed build­ing in Taranaki.

The stain­less-steel mir­ror-like fa­cade boasts 17 pan­els, which are 14m high and weigh a to­tal of 32 tonnes. That led many to pre­dict the con­tro­ver­sial An­drew Pat­ter­son-de­signed build­ing would be a dis­as­ter – if it could ac­tu­ally be done - Scott and his team at steel fab­ri­cat­ing com­pany Rivet ig­nored the public de­bate and just got on and did it.

Rivet’s work has rightly won the New Ply­mouth com­pany many accolades and awards, but Scott him­self re­mains re­fresh­ingly down-to-earth.

Clearly Scott is a man who en­joys a chal­lenge, which ex­plains why he re­cently be­came the chair­man of Taranaki Fu­tures.

He suc­ceeded Gra­ham Wells, who chaired the or­gan­i­sa­tion for the first four years of its ex­is­tence and Scott was quick to pay trib­ute to his pre­de­ces­sor

‘‘He was one of the peo­ple who laid re­ally good foun­da­tions for Taranaki Fu­tures and much of the credit has to go to him, and New Ply­mouth MP Jonathan Young who orig­i­nally came up with the con­cept.’’

Scott be­lieves Wells had a suc­ces­sion plan in place all along. ‘‘He asked me if I’d be in­ter­ested in go­ing on the trust, which I was happy to do so, and 12 months later he re­tired and I be­came the new chair­man,’’ he says with a chuckle.

Although Taranaki Fu­tures has be­come a per­ma­nent fix­ture on the Taranaki train­ing land­scape th­ese days, it is worth re­mind­ing our­selves just what it does. Taranaki Fu­tures’ web­site gives a suc­cinct de­scrip­tion.

‘‘It is an or­gan­i­sa­tion that links ed­u­ca­tors, fam­i­lies and wha¯ nau and in­dus­try.

It con­nects peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions that have a role in en­abling ev­ery­one within Taranaki to have a clear un­der­stand­ing of the em­ploy­ment and ca­reer path­ways avail­able to them.’’

As with all the other trustees, Scott gets paid ‘a big fat zero,’ he says.

‘‘I do it be­cause I love it,’’ he says frankly. ‘‘And we’ve got a great board of trustees, a re­ally good cross sec­tion with in­dus­try, fi­nance, mar­ket­ing, public re­la­tions and ed­u­ca­tion all rep­re­sented.’’

So what prompted Scott to get in­volved in the first place?

‘‘I guess it goes all the way back to when I was leav­ing school and I had no idea of what was on of­fer. Un­less you were go­ing to univer­sity, you were left to your own de­vices.

‘‘Thank­fully to­day our young peo­ple have a lot more op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to them, but we just need to put those in front of them.

‘‘We’re a trades-based busi­ness, and whether it’s en­gi­neer­ing, plumbing, elec­tri­cal or what­ever, we have to try and re­tain our young peo­ple for our pro­fes­sion or ca­reer.’’

Scott said re­tain­ing our young peo­ple brought nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits.

‘‘We need them, be­cause it’s about strong com­mu­ni­ties and that’s part of our mis­sion state­ment, ‘stronger peo­ple, stronger em­ploy­ment, strong com­mu­ni­ties’.

‘‘If young peo­ple get a job they like it makes a dif­fer­ence to the place. It’s im­por­tant peo­ple un­der­stand that do­ing a trade or a prac­ti­cal ca­reer can be just as re­ward­ing and ful­fill­ing.

‘‘It’s good work that pays good money and it can be fun – you don’t have to be a lawyer or an ac­coun­tant to suc­ceed.’’

To prove his point, Scott cited the num­ber of boats at the port that ob­vi­ously be­longed to trades­peo­ple.

‘‘If you go down to the boat ramp at the port on a Satur­day have a look and see how many boats are be­hind trades ve­hi­cles. They’ve made enough money to buy a boat and they’re out there do­ing it.’’

Scott is a strong ad­vo­cate for the re­gion. ‘‘The coun­cils and Ven­ture Taranaki and ev­ery­one has cre­ated a re­ally good place to live but we’ve got to keep our young peo­ple here, we don’t want them to leave.

‘‘If they do their train­ing here, they’re more likely to come back to work here later on.’’

Taranaki Fu­tures is best known for its Build A Bach projects, but Scott in­sists there is far more to the or­gan­i­sa­tion than that.

‘‘For the last three and a half years Gra­ham Wells and his group did a great job build­ing the base, but now we need to de­liver a strat­egy that lets peo­ple know what we de­liver out­side Build A Bach.

‘‘It’s only one of nine pro­grammes that we run, and many of the other eight most peo­ple wouldn’t know – in­clud­ing me when I started on the trust.’’

A strat­egy has been de­cided on for the next 12 years.

‘‘While Build a Bach is a key part of what we do, we have other suc­cess­ful pro­grammes which don’t get the same pro­file. They in­clude: Ac­cel­er­a­tor, Yes, Maori Pasi­fica Trades Train­ing, and much more.’’

Again ev­ery­thing hinges around those all-im­por­tant part­ner­ships. ‘‘It’s very much about con­nect­ing young peo­ple and ed­u­ca­tors with in­dus­try, so there are di­rect con­nec­tions. It’s a two-way thing.’’

‘‘It’s the first or­gan­i­sa­tion like it in New Zealand and peo­ple are tak­ing no­tice.’’

As far as part­ner­ships are con­cerned, ev­ery com­mu­nity in Taranaki has a vested in­ter­est in the suc­cess of Taranaki Fu­tures.

And if there is one per­son ca­pa­ble of unit­ing them all for ev­ery­one’s mu­tual ben­e­fit, it’s most def­i­nitely Steve Scott, af­ter all he spe­cialises in achiev­ing the near im­pos­si­ble.

The Taranaki Fu­tures board of trustees is: Steve Scott (Chair­man), Mark Bow­den, the Spotswood Col­lege prin­ci­pal is the deputy chair; Martin Baker, Tegel’s gen­eral man­ager for the lower North Is­land; Michael Brag­gins, a di­rec­tor of Cle­land Con­struc­tion, noted Maori aca­demic Will Ed­wards, Witt chief ex­ec­u­tive Bar­bara Ge­orge; real es­tate agent and en­tre­pre­neur Blake Habib; Feats owner and Ter­tiary Providers Taranaki chair­woman Cheree Men­zies; Lisa Sam­mut the Taranaki re­gional man­ager for TSB and Andy Watt, the Gen­eral Man­ager Sales & Mar­ket­ing for New Ply­mouth­based trans­port com­pany TIL Freight, are the other trustees.


Steve Scott is the new head of Taranaki Fu­tures.

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