A joint venture between Northland Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and local partners will bring an employment and industry expo to the Whangārei CBD next month allowing Northlanders to explore the job market and prospects for regional industry.

Joblab – which emerged out of the ongoing Strandlab initiative – is a showcase for businesses and education provider, and will offer a matchmaking service for employers and job seekers.

Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Steve Smith said Joblab would look at the growing regional market and trying to get a better picture of the demands of the industry.

"Joblab takes all stakeholders of the region into one space. It will be an opportunity to communicate the needs of the industry in terms of skills and human resource," Smith said.

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"With all the exciting developments ahead for the North, it is important that we listen to the needs of the business community and do all we can to prepare our workforce, both current and future, for the opportunities ahead."

Located in The Strand Arcade Shopping Centre, Joblab will be a hub for seminars, job interviews and displays – turning empty shops into a dynamic centre of activity.

The expo is produced by Strandlab partner AwhiWorld and local events company Snap Events.

"Joblab is an exciting new development emerging out of last year's Strandlab and is part of an initiative to activate the Whangārei CBD," Dr Maggie Buxton of AwhiWorld said.

She said the project was a different and innovative approach to revitalising the town centre and also catered towards different needs within the community.

Joblab will run for four weeks, starting on Monday. Photo / John Stone
Joblab will run for four weeks, starting on Monday. Photo / John Stone

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Starting on February 3, Joblab is running for the entire month focusing on different industry branches each week, including retail and hospitality, national services, trades and horticulture.

MSD has been working with NorthChamber and Whangārei District Council on the central city development, specifically on plans to revitalise businesses in the CBD, and Joblab is the first hands-on project born out of the collaboration.

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MSD regional commissioner Eru Lyndon said Northland was in a growth mode and the chamber was doing some great stuff to promote the development of the region together with the business community.

"Employing our local people is going to be critical to our region's success. This initiative is great because it offers Northland job seekers the opportunity to meet with employers and training providers, at a central point, in a new and novel way," Lyndon said.

He said Joblab was aiming to deliver key facts about the job market and negate existing perceptions while creating a safe space for employers and potential employees to communicate.

"Ideally both employers and employment seekers will have a great experience with a lot of quality content," Lyndon added.

Organising parties hope to establish Joblab as a regular event for Whangārei and potentially take it further into the region.

Joblab still has vacancies seminar organisers. To participate, contact Kiriwai Jones by kiriwai.jones004@msd.govt.nz or visit the Joblab Facebook page for further information.