Auckland Airport will tomorrow formally launch a jobs and skills trust that has already put hundreds of people into work.

Since it began as a trial in November 2015, Ara has placed 227 people in jobs, including 103 who were previously on benefits.

There have been 10 low-risk prisoners through the programme, some were on remand and didn't serve a sentence while others were rehabilitated through a Corrections Department programme. Some have moved from labouring jobs to supervisor roles.

Ara, or pathway, is a partnership between the airport, the South Auckland community, Fletchers, Hawkins and other local employers, government agencies, Auckland Council, local schools and tertiary institutes, industry training organisations and training providers.


Most of the workers come from South Auckland and 26 placed through Ara have gone on to apprenticeships.

Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the organisation started with construction jobs but already other businesses in the area were interested in the workers.

"We're starting to get inquiry from other businesses at the airport - whether it's retail, food and beverage or logistics. They're all in the same boat in the tourism boom."

Government agencies (the ministries of Social Development, Business Innovation and Employment, and Education and the Tertiary Education Commission) were involved in the scheme which Littlewood said enabled a "wrap around" or account management approach to getting people in work.

"It's not just about recruitment and job placement but thinking about the barriers to ongoing job placement. There could be other things in their lives that are stopping them from getting a job," he said.

Ara is currently working with seven training providers. Examples of training arranged through Ara include SiteSafe, Working at Heights and drivers licensing.

Sixty-eight students from five South Auckland schools have been or are currently involved in Ara's school work experience programme.

Insight Economics has calculated that the benefits of the airport's 30-year investment in infrastructure include creating around 27,000 more jobs.


The major upgrade of Auckland Airport's international departure area is now well under way, as is the expansion of Pier B of the international terminal which will add two more contact gates that can each accommodate an A380 or two smaller aircraft.

The airport plans to accommodate an estimated 40 million passengers a year by 2044 - more than double the number that pass through the airport now.

Auckland Airport is investing more than $1 million every working day and expects this level of investment will likely continue into the "near future".