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Meat Industry ‘Straight to Work’ Partnership


29 November 2004

Meat Industry ‘Straight to Work’ Partnership Initiative New Zealand Industry Training Organisation//Meat Industry Association

A new initiative was launched today by the meat industry in partnership with government. The “straight to work” programme is a joint exercise with the NZITO, Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

This programme is based on a new MSD partnership model for employment that is demand driven – it listens to employers and seeks to match employees to the work that is available. This practical focus is supported by specific training including on job coaching.

The NZ Industry Training Organisation is owned by the dairy, meat and leather industries. It has` been able to use its vocational training resources and training providers to work alongside company managers and MSD staff to help put people into employment, further training and good career prospects.

This programme has radically refocused and fast tracked the pre-employment training offered in the past. Company staff, experienced industry trainers, and MSD staff all collaborate to ensure job seekers are selected professionally, inducted and trained in food processing and meat processing skills.

Pre-employment training covers food safety, occupational health and safety, industry product knowledge and is weighted to practical on job training followed by employment and career support.

Carl Ammon, GM of the NZITO, commented that “the pragmatic focus of the MSD had helped progress the opening of new employment pathways that suited MSD, industry and the trainees.”

Ammon noted that “With improved selection, shorter lead times and a more practical focus we are helping fill vacancies and keeping industry producing.” He added that “the success of this initiative is based on partnership, co-operation and self help.”

The programme has just started but by Christmas around 200 people will be on track for employment. It is expected if there are sufficient suitable applicants up to 2000 jobs can be filled annually in the meat industry.

Career prospects are positive in the industry which provides in service education up to management levels via the NZITO. The industry offers attractive remuneration and potential for employees willing to make the effort.

Graeme Sutton, Chairperson of the NZITO, commented that “the domestic economy is buoyant and we are having increasing problems recruiting and retaining staff to support our businesses. The rural sector is especially hard hit by depopulation and labour shortages.”

Sutton noted that “there is no one answer to these issues – solutions include tapping into under utilised labour; immigration; labour saving technology, and achieving greater levels of productivity from existing workforces.”

One option that we have been able to use to advantage is the group of job seekers registered with Work and Income. This training allows people to retrain into new careers in food processing.

Sutton acknowledged the positive role of the MSD, the active support of the MIA, and the participation of companies like Wallace Corp, Levin Meats, Greenlea and PPCS. He also acknowledged the contributions of the new employees like Aroha Mckay, from Taumaranui, will make to the industry.

ENDS

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