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UC business researcher investigating promotion of recovery

UC business researcher investigating promotion of recovery

August 7, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) researcher is working on increasing the resilience of organisations, and promoting recovery after disaster.

UC, in collaboration with the Resilient Organisations group, has been investigating the Christchurch rebuild and the reconstruction workers’ accommodation, drawing on international experiences of Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.

The group has been commissioned by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to create more disaster-resilient labour markets throughout the broader Asia-Pacific region.  The Christchurch findings will be used as part of that wider project. 

UC researcher Dr John Vargo, co-leader, says that post-disaster recovery and reconstruction can involve major workforce issues. Dr Vargo will give a public lecture at UC next Wednesday on August 14. See here for a preview: http://youtu.be/Bj1uCrWqCNs

``International experience shows that some countries’ labour markets quickly recover from natural disasters and provide the workforce needed for reconstruction, but others experience prolonged unemployment and skill shortages that hinder reconstruction.

``This project will investigate how the public and private sectors can improve the labour market following major events, using case studies of strategies that have been found to work well.

``It will draw on experiences of recent events in New Zealand, Japan, Australia, USA, Chile, China, The Philippines and Indonesia. The key issues to be investigated include social protection, job and training strategies, employment services and assistance for business continuity and restoration.

``The project’s goal is to better prepare the APEC economies for emergencies. It will develop a set of common principles for post-disaster workforce issues, promoting a standardised and coordinated approach throughout the Asia-Pacific region.’’

Dr Vargo and his team received a $75,000 Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment grant to investigate better resilience for APEC.

His group has also been advising Wellington companies and organisations following recent earthquakes in the capital.

``We have advised them to look after their staff, to be proactive in contacting suppliers and customers to make sure they are ok.  This is a great opportunity to strengthen those relationships. They also need to look at their insurance policies.’’


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