RSLGs: Dealing with quite a different future

RSLGs: Dealing with quite a different future

Last updated 15 September 2020
Last updated 15 September 2020

The Regional Skills Leadership Groups are preparing their first reports pulling together local intelligence and insights on the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on skills and workforce needs.

We caught up with Awerangi Tamihere and Robert Reid, co-Chairs of the Auckland Skills Leadership Group, to talk about aspirations for their group and the Auckland labour market.

Both Awerangi and Robert expect that over the next few months Auckland will be facing a stark reality.

“COVID-19 will be part of our reality for some time, so we are dealing with quite a different future,” said Awerangi. 

“How we pivot quickly and take that stark reality and make opportunities will determine where the Auckland labour market ends up. The type of skills mix has to be one that is resilient so it can withstand any type of pandemic.” 

For Robert, the labour market is about both jobs and people: “The Skills Leadership Group cannot create jobs itself but we can be part of ensuring that there are workers with the right skills to take on jobs created and those disadvantaged in the labour market, especially Māori and Pasifika, are given the chance to participate. Having correct on-time labour market information will help us in this process.”

The first intelligence report for Auckland has just been agreed. The first two sectors that the group is looking into are construction and health, as these are growing sectors even in a COVID-19 environment.

“We’re looking at Digitech, both as an enabler for all other sectors and as a sector in itself and also the hospitality and retail industries where many businesses are closing and there is a contraction in employment,” Robert said.

Awerangi Tamihere is Chief Operating Officer for the North Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency and Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust. Her career has spanned central government, regional crown entities, the private sector and working with her own iwi.

Robert Reid has over 40 years’ experience in trade unions and in community employment and skills development. He is President and former General Secretary of FIRST Union.