Popup Job, Training Hub sparked by Covid situation

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New opportunities... Riversdale jobseeker Logan Matthews and Hokonui Huanui employment co-ordinator Sarah Goodwin check out the positions available on the jobs board at the opening of the Popup Job and Training Hub yesterday.PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A new hub to help people find work has opened in Gore’s Brennan Lane.

The Popup Job and Training Hub is a joint venture between the Hokonui Huanui, Community Networking Trust and Ministry of Social Development.

Hokonui Huanui lead Lisa McKenzie said the hub was set up in response to the Covid-19 situation in which more numbers than usual might be looking for work or a change in career.

“The idea was it was a place where there was centrally located information about the jobs that are available, training that’s available [and] support for people who might need a refresher in interview skills or get a CV [curriculum vitae] done,” Mrs McKenzie said.

“People are wanting to upskill or change careers.”

Figures from the Ministry of Social Development website show in the Gore district, 243 people were receiving jobseeker support in June 2019 compared with 307 in June this year.

There were 311 jobseekers registered in May this year, the highest figure in the 12-month period to June.

The lowest number in the period was in February, when there were 217.

Government initiatives such as the free apprenticeship scheme were being announced regularly, Mrs McKenzie said.

“There’s other things being rolled out all the time and we thought it was really important we had information about those opportunities in one place.”

Wi-Fi would be available at the hub and workshops would be held there.

“We do that based on the need we see coming through.”

The hub would also be a place where employers could advertise job vacancies.

Hokonui Huanui employment co-ordinator Sarah Goodwin would staff the hub from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Thursday.

It was expected the hub would be open for about three months.

Ministry of Social Development work broker Lee-Anne Hewlett would also spend time at the hub, Mrs McKenzie said.

Jobseekers Vaughan Cowan, of Mataura, and Logan Matthews, of Riversdale, both said they were impressed with the new hub.

“It’s a good way to tell people that they don’t have to go too far to find a job that suits you,” Mr Cowan said.

“It’ll probably help a lot of people to find the jobs they need to do,” Mr Matthews said.

Great South Southland Youth Futures co-ordinator Allison Beckham said about 600 jobs were advertised online on the Southland jobs portal.

“There are certainly jobs out there,” Mrs Beckham said.

“It is not all doom and gloom.”

During lockdown the number decreased to about 200.

While sectors such as tourism and hospitality had seen a decrease in the number of jobs, there were plenty in the primary sector.

“We’re really confident about the job prospects in Southland.”

The opening of the hub was held in conjunction with Great South’s Job Search 2020.

It was the third time the employment event has been held in Gore.

Great South business services general manager Ben Lewis said given the evolving impacts of Covid-19 Great South’s Job Search was extremely timely and provided much-needed support to Southland’s labour force.

“This event builds on previous Pop Up Job Shop events to provide those seeking employment with the advice, support and networks needed to learn more about, and connect with, the range of employment opportunities still available across the region,” Mr Lewis said.

The initiative is being supported by a wide range of job-search and career specialists, industry career representatives and community organisations.

There are also a range of free seminars being held each day.