Rotorua Youth Centre is excited about a new opportunity for local rangatahi to develop their work talent.
Northpower has launched a Cadetship Programme in partnership with Rotorua Youth Centre and training provider People Potential, with the aim of helping develop local talent.
Ten Rotorua rangatahi are on the 14-week work-ready course, and it is hoped they will transition from there into the Northpower workforce to complete apprenticeships over the next two years, while also embarking on exciting careers.
Rotorua Youth Centre chief executive Jen Murray is excited by the initiative.
"This is a great opportunity for our local rangatahi and it is great to be working on this initiative with Northpower.
"I hope this is the start of a long relationship where we can keep supporting our young people into sustainable employment in the electricity industry."
She says this programme fits with the centre's vision of Rotorua youth reaching their full potential.
"Our youth worker navigators support rangatahi on the programme to identify goals and aspirations, and provide them with pastoral care and wrap-around support prior to, and during, the programme.
"This intensive support continues six months into their employment."
Northpower training manager Mackenzie Ashby says the initiative is possible thanks to a partnership with MBIE.
"Late last year we were granted $1.5 million under the Regional Apprenticeship Initiative (RAI) to help bring 40 people into the electricity sector by the end of 2022," she says.
Northpower covers the remainder of the programme costs (about 70 per cent) during the two-year RAI and provides electricity trade jobs for the successful cadets.
The company also continues to recruit through iwi connections, with a high percentage of Māori representation.
Northpower remains focussed on prioritising Māori and Pasifika employees, along with Covid-displaced workers and other displaced workers, including those who have undertaken pre-trades training and are looking for work.
However, the programme is still open to all other workers (including existing employees interested in apprenticeships) when this demand has been met – adding to the diversity of Northpower's workforce.
"Ultimately this funding allows Northpower to contribute back into the communities within the regions we work in, and where our crews are on call 24/7 to keep the power on and keep people safe.
"So we have been working hard to identify people who will fit well with our business culture and develop them into completing apprenticeships under the Northpower Apprenticeship Programme."
Apprentices will work towards completing one of the following Level 4 qualification pathways - Line Mechanic Distribution, Line Mechanic Transmission Line Maintenance, Line Mechanic Transmission Structure Maintainer, Cable Jointer High Voltage, Arboriculture Vegetation Control and NZC Electrical Engineering.
Northpower already has 13 apprentices progressing well under the RAI, including two in Rotorua - with two more trainee electrical engineering technicians to be appointed soon - and two in Tauranga.
The Regional Apprentice Project (MBIE contract) supports Northpower to employ trainees in nine of its depots across the North Island.
People Potential's academic director Bronwyn Ronayne says kick-starting the Rotorua initiative is very pleasing.
"Having worked alongside Northpower for many years, it is nice to be able to give more people a chance to embark on careers they might not have otherwise had the chance to," she says.
"At People Potential we sincerely believe in the potential of each individual and this programme really aligns well with that."
People Potential has been working collaboratively with Northpower on helping develop apprentices since 2018, with the first Cadetship Programme running from Whangārei in 2019.
People Potential is a Category One provider with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
"I love the fact that the cadets actually gain a qualification before they even start with Northpower.
"It gives them a set of skills that are useful in the electricity supply industry and also ensures there is time to embed the other important life skills they are learning, with a genuine career opportunity at the end of the programme.
"We have been thrilled to be involved in a programme that is making a real difference," Bronwyn says.