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The New Zealand workforce has been cornered into a period of rapid change and economic shift.

Every Tuesday, the Herald will bring job seekers and small-business owners tips from the experts on how to prepare and pivot their careers in uncertain times.

Hundreds of displaced hospitality and tourism workers are getting support and advice from a platform initially launched for job seekers.

Go with Tourism - which was originally designed to match employers with staff like a professional dating app - quickly changed focus as Covid-19 decimated the industry.

Director Matt Stenton said the quick shift in focus meant ongoing support was quickly available to workers and business operators in the industry which, before the virus hit, brought in $41 billion a year to the New Zealand economy.

The job-seekers platform now provided emotional support and financial advice, redeployment to other industries where possible, and offers training to retain talent and skills for tourism post-Covid-19.

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"We pivoted and changed our focus and within four days we were ready to go and help support our tourism talent," he said.

"People can visit the site and fill in a form and within 48 hours we have made contact, given emotional support and made sure they are getting all of the financial help they need."

New data shows more than 520 people had completed forms on the Go With Tourism site and were either looking for redeployment work or needed to talk.

Others have lost their job and are looking for work.

Go with Tourism was working with supermarkets, health boards, transport and security companies, and the forestry industry which needed immediate staff.

"We have had people break down and cry on the phone because of the stress they are under," Stenton said.

"It has been really heartbreaking to hear some of the situations people are in but very rewarding when we get a call saying they have an interview or we get an email saying thanks."

Stenton said it was too soon to put a number on the redeployment rate but both Countdown and Foodstuffs, which owns New World and Pak'nSave, had employed dozens from the industry.

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Foodstuffs had hired out-of-work employees from House of Travel and Air New Zealand and was working with Flight Centre, the Restaurant Association and other tourism and hospitality businesses.

Spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said there was a focus on hiring people who had lost jobs because of the outbreak.

"In times like these, locals helping locals is incredibly important and it's great to see the community pulling together," she said.

Marisa Bidois from the Restaurant Association said Kiwis should order directly with restaurants and takeaway owners. Photo / Supplied
Marisa Bidois from the Restaurant Association said Kiwis should order directly with restaurants and takeaway owners. Photo / Supplied

Marisa Bidois from the Restaurant Association said locals helping locals was what would get the hospitality industry through its toughest time.

There has been a glimmer of hope for restaurants and takeaway businesses moving into level 3, Bidois said.

But she urged New Zealanders to research where and how they ordered.

"The New Zealand public can help by shopping and eating locally and supporting the smaller businesses that will be struggling," she said.

Avoiding Uber Eats, which charged eateries 30-35 per cent commission, was also key.

"We are also urging people to deal directly with their local restaurants and cafes where they can," Bidois said.

"Third-party delivery apps charge the restaurants commissions on orders and whilst some have adjusted these to lower commission rates, others such as Uber Eats are still charging a whopping 35 percent in some cases."

Supporting local - what Kiwis can do:

• Contact your local eatery directly in the first instance and find out what they have in place

• Check out the Restaurant Association Dine Find Website to see which establishments are operating in your area - www.dinefind.co.nz

• Buy a dining voucher for use at a later date. See if your local establishment is offering any specials on dining vouchers

• Share your experiences online using the #TakeoutNZ to encourage others to do the same.