The $1.33m from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) targeting people displaced by COVID-19 has enabled Ruapehu District Council and community partners to successfully put 25 people into training and employment on local roading related projects.
Ruapehu COVID-19 Recovery Manager Warren Furner said that Government funding for COVID-19 redeployment has been a great initiative to help offset some of the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
“Government wanted to see things happening at pace so Council moved quickly to align local employers with the contract opportunities and displaced workers and deliver jobs at pace,” he said.
“The 25 people including rangatahi (youth) are being employed to work on various sections of the Mountain to Sea Cycle trail, maintenance of exotic trees on road margins and its processing into firewood and local road operations and maintenance.
In addition to the employment and training opportunities the funding has supported the start-up and on-going work of Maori owned businesses in Ruapehu.
Ngāti Rangi owned Ruapehu Recruitment is in the process of hiring nine people on behalf of iwi owned Ruapehu WorX Ltd for cycle trail maintenance.
In tendering for, and winning the cycle trail maintenance contract, Ruapehu WorX has been able to employ COVID-19 displaced workers while building its capacity to bid for other contracts and provide further opportunities for employment and training.
Taumarunui based AgSpec Services has employed a further nine people to fell wilding pines growing on the road corridor which are being processed for firewood which is going to people in need.
In this case as well as generating employment the Government’s COVID-19 redeployment funding is assisting to deliver environmental and social support objectives.”
Mr Furner said that thanks to the funding seven new jobs have been created in the road building and maintenance area by Council contractors Downer and GHD.
“Infrastructure and facilities manager Downer have employed six people who are being trained as roadmen while engineering consultancy GHD has been able to employ a civil engineering cadet.
The creation of a civil engineering cadet opportunity which has enabled a young person who had been working for DOC and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) before being displaced by COVID-19 to be given a professional career opportunity is an especially exciting outcome,” he said.