Regional resilience, strength necessary

Southlanders are rightly proud of our region, our lifestyle and our ability to welcome new people. We have a lot to offer, but we also face complex issues, such as the potential closure of Tīwai Point aluminium smelter, that challenge our ability to offer the skilled, sustainable work necessary for all in our region to thrive.

The need to build more resilience and strength across the regional economy is paramount.

The aim of the Southland Murihiku Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG) is to develop a thriving regional labour market that transforms the lives of all people living in our region, now and in the future.

This requires us to collectively address workforce challenges such as our ageing population, improving our young people’s access to meaningful employment opportunities and building capability across multiple sectors.

RSLGs are independent advisory groups set up in 2021 to find and support better ways of meeting future regional workforce skills and needs. We are a core part of the Government’s reform of vocational education, alongside Te Pūkenga and Workforce Development Councils.

Our work is about finding regional solutions for regional labour market challenges, like making sure we have local training in place for local jobs — and that learners are also equipped for jobs only just on the horizon.

Our role as one of 15 RSLGs around the motu is to inform, shape and influence skills and workforce development in and for our region. It’s a joined-up approach to workforce planning that brings regional labour market players together to agree on how we can improve employment outcomes. This leadership role also includes providing a regional voice to central government agencies on labour market issues.

In our first Regional Workforce Plan, released last year, we focused on the skills and workforce needs of Southland’s manufacturing and engineering, food and fibre, health care and social assistance and tourism and hospitality sectors.

We also put a spotlight on the training and employment needs of young people — our rakatahi.

We have set some ambitious goals on behalf of the Southland Murihiku people.

The partnerships we are building will be essential to achieving these, as will the broad expertise, passion, deep networks and mana our members bring to the table.

We have openings for new members to join this mahi.

You can find out more on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website about opportunities to be part of this important, rewarding work, where you really can make a difference. Applications close on March 15:

Whiria te muka takata, hei torokaha mau roa.

Plait the threads of our people together, as a strong everlasting rope to bind us.

Paul Marshall is co-chairman of the Southland Murihiku Regional Skills Leadership Group. He is managing director of his family-owned farming business, an experienced advocate for the primary sector, and committed to the future of our region.