"While Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our community we do still have job vacancies coming in," says Ministry of Social Development Bay of Plenty regional commissioner Mike Bryant.
This week, in an attempt to help fill those vacancies, the ministry held a pop-up job shop in Rotorua's Central Mall. The job shop, with a "Keep Rotorua Working" theme, was an innovative way to connect job seekers with employers.
About 350 people stopped at the job shop between Monday-Friday and were able to leave their contact details as well as information about the sort of work they would like to do, which would then be passed on to potential employers.
"One of the main things MSD and Work and Income are trying to achieve is getting a good match between jobs and job opportunities and people looking at work," Bryant said.
"We obviously do a lot of that in our office but we think coming out to malls and different places can make us more visible to different sorts of people."
One of the main messages we want to share with people is that there are lots of jobs available.
Part of the process was taking names of people who might be able to take up jobs created by shovel-ready projects through the Provincial Growth Fund.
"We're trying to get ahead of that and get names of people who are interested. One of the main messages we want to share with people is that there are lots of jobs available. With Covid, people are maybe thinking it will be harder to get jobs but there's actually lots of jobs now.
"There's also a lot of employers looking for work to do, so interested in hearing from them as well. We also have pre-employment training, CV writing, programmes for younger people - a lot of initiatives to help people get into those jobs they want.
"We find that if people talk to us about what interests them, then we can actually match them and hopefully get a much longer term match. Rather than us tell them what's available, we'd love to hear what they want to do and then see what we can do about finding a match."
While dropping in to check out the job shop, Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said she thought it was "a wonderful idea".
"I love seeing them coming out like this. I think all of us have to get out and actually see and feel the community, hear the stories and know where the pain points are. There will be pain points, I don't think we'll know the full impact [of Covid-19] until about October/November.
"There were three women here when I arrived who were looking for a career change and not wanting to commute because the cost of travel was becoming prohibitive. They were all looking at how they can match their skills, they're all skilled but they're looking at what they can do here at home."
Chadwick said it was clear that people in the community were willing to seek jobs and adapt to what are unprecedented times.
"I think young people are starting to rethink the value of how they make a choice. There's a lot of discussion, in my family and lots of their friends, about things like 'perhaps at this stage I wouldn't want to be an airline pilot'. They really are thinking about what might be a good long-term option.
"I think that's going to be a huge opportunity for skills and training, especially with the housing rebuild. We're going to be building 1200 houses and we're going to need all the tradies here."
Looking for work? Send your name and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org