EmployNZ , the winner of this year's Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year award, has succeeded by giving its clients the tools to reach their potential, says director and general manager Jay Banner.

The company partners with Government agencies including the Ministry of Social Development, the Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Qualifications Authority, to provide clients with relevant and achievable training and development programmes.

EmployNZ also partners with secondary schools, private training establishments, tertiary institutes and industry training organisations, to source further training , and works with industry to find employment opportunities for its clients.

The company was set up by Robyn Phillips in 2000 and was acquired by Diane Meikle and Mr Banner three years ago. Mr Banner had previously contracted to EmployNZ.


"Robyn built a really strong business and laid some strong foundations, so we had the building blocks when we took it over," said Mr Banner.

Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Michael Bryant said with EmployNZ, the people delivering the service cared about their clients.

"They have a strong commitment to getting outcomes - not just working with people, but working through all the issues and requirements to actually get to an end point or an outcome. They actually want to make a difference in people's lives, rather than just deliver a service."

Judges at the Westpac awards said EmployNZ stood out as the winner for its overall excellence in managing the business and its outcomes.

"With the highest judging score, EmployNZ was a stand-out in all judging categories," they said.

"Their unique approach to business management and development included an 'open door policy for good ideas' such as holding a Dragon's Den where all staff participated in providing ideas for the strategic plan. Their employer / customer satisfaction results exceed 95 per cent."

EmployNZ had strong leadership, empowerment and succession planning evident across the leadership team, and a meticulous knowledge and understanding of their business, the judges added. That was coupled with focused planning within the areas of their control, and detailed diversification options identified.

Mr Banner said he felt EmployNZ had quite a different approach to a lot of people in the training sector.

"People come into this industry because they have passion for helping people and that's really important for us. But sometimes I feel for us it's not about giving them a handout, it's about giving them a hand up. I'm really passionate about making sure that every person who comes in contact with our organisation gets the tools to reach their potential."


• Staff: 40
• Offices: in Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo
• Winner of: Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year 2016, and the Bay of Connections Social Enterprise Award 2016