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Life-changing Talent Program Back To Empower Ōtautahi Women Into High-growth Careers

PowerUp 2.0 features local women making leaps and bounds in high-value jobs and future-focused careers. Credit: ChristchurchNZ

Over the next 30 years Christchurch’s aerospace, tech, health tech, and food, fibre and agritech sectors are set for high growth. To take full advantage of this potential the sectors need to ensure a strong pipeline of talent with the right skills and qualifications. Currently women are under-represented in these sectors, particularly in the high-value, STEM-focused engineering roles and the PowerUp program returns this October to raise awareness of these opportunities.

The 2023 campaign builds on the success of the previous PowerUp program which ran throughout 2022 and was created in response to the skills shortage challenges created by the compounding impacts of Covid border closures and strong economic growth. The program was aimed at the approximately 20,000 underemployed and under-utilised women in the Canterbury workforce to help reduce the impact of the workforce gap.

“ChristchurchNZ is charged with attracting the best talent to the city as well as building employment pathways into the city’s growth sectors. Through our market research we knew there was a huge opportunity to support more women into employment immediately post-Covid and so the program featured a campaign alongside a series of events delivered in partnership with Canterbury Tech to support and encourage more women into employment and particularly into the tech sector,” says Karen Haigh, ChristchurchNZ’s Talent Specialist.

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Last year’s program involved networking events, workshops and one-to-one coaching all designed to support local underemployed or underutilised women into roles, particularly in the tech sector. Participants in the program sang the program’s praises.

“Hearing from women in different career stages and on different paths is a great way to look at your own situation and opportunities with a fresh perspective. The PowerUp program built my confidence and helped me land a new job outside of myarea ofexperience. I’ve since landed a new job in data science and I’m excited to be in a field growing rapidly,” says Lindsay Tallot, a participant from the first PowerUp campaign.

Julia Sothman is a Spacecraft Mechanical Engineer at Dawn Aerospace and PowerUp 2.0 advocate. Credit: ChristchurchNZ

“Most useful was the 1-to-1 coaching session I had. This session was instrumental in helping me to take all the varied insights I had gained and make them personally relevant to my career and life goals. I left that session feeling more certain in what I wanted to achieve and more confident I could achieve it,” says Tallot.

Another local participant was Paola Ochoa, who arrived in New Zealand without knowing anyone. After attending last year’s PowerUp events, she learnt critical skills like writing a CV tailored for New Zealand employers, and to approach recruiters looking for her skill set.

“PowerUp gave me the confidence to go out to look for the job I wanted. Being Latin American, I thought my auditor experience could not be used abroad. PowerUp proved to me I have the tools many employers are looking for, I simply needed a little help around crafting a CV, and who I should send it to. I now work in audit, and it is all thanks to PowerUp,” says Ochoa, another successful participant in the first PowerUp program.

In its second year, PowerUp seeks to raise awareness of the opportunities within the city’s growth sectors and the high-value, purpose-led careers available – such as green space transport and tech to support the earth science community to access minerals underground with minimal impact, which are being developed here in Christchurch.

“There is a myriad of roles within high-tech and future-focussed sectors, but many positions are not well understood by the general public. This lack of awareness and knowledge compounds the problem – without the knowledge, people are less likely to apply for jobs in these areas, less likely to study them and less likely to encourage the next generation into them and the tight supply of new talent limits growth within the sector,” says ChristchurchNZ Innovation and Business Growth General Manager Martin Cudd.

“To continue the city’s economic growth, it is important we engage our workforce to build pathways into our industry clusters. There is an opportunity to support, inspire and educate residents and particularly women on the availability of high-value jobs within our industry clusters. It is these clusters that have future growth potential and will be the foundation of better economic outcomes for the city,” says Cudd.

The PowerUp campaign showcases women already spearheading change in these sectors and working on problems that have global relevancy. PowerUp 2.0 launches today and features a range of events and workshops to power up the careers of women in Christchurch and Canterbury.

For more information visit: http://powerupyourcareer.co.nz/


ChristchurchNZ is the city’s sustainable economic development and city profile agency. Our purpose is to stimulate sustainable economic growth for a more prosperous Christchurch. Find out more at ChristchurchNZ.com

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