Big boost for Gisborne labour force project
ECT in November approved a grant of $230,000 to help fund the two-year Tipu project, for which co-ordinator Rawinia Parata has been drawing together information on everything from labour requirements and production cycles to details about the unemployment rate, training options, skill levels, and people's level of work-readiness.
Tairawhiti Labour Force Group chair Tim Egan says that now the research work has been done, the plan is to develop a website with resources for both employers and employees.
“There are almost 300 growers [in the Gisborne/Tairawhiti region] with clear signals of expansion in apples and kiwifruit,” says Mr Murphy.
Eighty-five thousand apple trees will be planted this year alone – with a further 85,000 the next year – and labour analysis indicates that to keep up with growth, an extra 1,200 employees will be needed in the next three-to-five years, he says.
“It’s also clear that there is an opportunity to improve the way we connect our local labour force to those jobs, and it is our belief the Tipu website is an important part of that puzzle for the horticulture sector.”