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Seasonal workers and our rangatahi - December 2020

“Hawke's Bay needs 10,000 workers. Can it find them?”

“Swipe right to pick fruit: Could an app solve mass seasonal worker shortage?”

“'This just cannot happen': $9.5 billion at risk as horticulture sector struggles to fill $25-an-hour jobs”

“Ministry responds to labour shortages”

“Border exemptions for migrant workers criticised as 'too late' to stem horticulture labour shortage”

Up until early 2020, the majority of Kiwis’ were not aware of how reliant New Zealand is on migrant workers. Seasonal worker shortages are usually an annual problem with an annual solution, with huge numbers of migrant workers flown in from various parts of the world to cope with the massive picking demand of our horticulture and viticulture industries. However, if those thousands of workers can no longer get to New Zealand due to the travel restrictions  imposed as a result of the onset of COVID-19, how do we ensure that our horticulture and viticulture industries survive?

In September it was reported that New Zealand had about 14,000 registered seasonal employed workers. That number is now sitting at 5000. Usually, we have about 50,000 overseas travelers/ backpackers who opt to work in this sector, however we are now down to less than 10,000 still in New Zealand who can fill these roles. To make matters worse, workers who would normally travel to New Zealand are also being invited to Australia for its recommenced Seasonal Worker Programme.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said if the fruit was not picked, it would put thousands of permanent jobs at risk.

“More than 8000 local people are permanently employed in Hawke’s Bay in and around the horticulture and viticulture sectors, from pack-houses to the port.

“But these permanent roles depend on the trees being planted and pruned and the fruit being picked, all of which is looking more and more difficult.”

So, what can we do about it?

The team at FUTURE LEADERS EMPLOYMENT SERVICES have been working hard to ensure that we educate our clients about the horticulture and viticulture industry and what career options are available beyond seasonal work.

This year we have successfully placed clients in seasonal worker roles in the Hawkes Bay and Alexandra, and we continue to engage with employers and work brokers to achieve win-win solutions. A recent placement saw Sagato and Geroge, two of our young men from Porirua, relocate to the Hawkes Bay to pick apples for Mr Orchard.

Recently Sagato and George spoke to their Youth and Employment Mentor Jay Berwick. Feedback from George and Sagato via Jay was:

George said his work placement with Mr Orchard is good snapshot for him to experience life outside the comforts of home. So far, he is enjoying his independence and the work, and getting used to life away from his family and his gaming device!

Sagato is enjoying the positive change and the newfound independence. He is especially enjoying the routine of waking himself up, cooking for himself, and going out and working in the field independently. This is quite the change for Sagato, being away from his family for the first time at aged 23.

The Ministry of Social Development offers support to encourage more workers into seasonal roles, even for those not on a benefit. Assistance is provided under the Seasonal Work Scheme and is made up of 3 types of support:

  • Support for seasonal work, eg:
  1. daily travel to work
  2. costs for clothing and work gear
  3. moving costs if the worker has to move to take up seasonal work
  • Accommodation costs up to a maximum of $200 a week, for up to 13 weeks
  • An incentive payment. $500 paid halfway through the contract, and $500 paid when work ends.

More information about this scheme- Seasonal Work Assistance - Work and Income.

Whilst seasonal work may be a role that provides positive routine to move onto other employment, for other’s it may just ignite a spark that provides a fulfilling career. Either way, seasonal work is a positive way for young people to contribute positivity to society; they get the opportunity to learn valuable skills, earn decent money, stay fit, gain work experience and get a decent dose of vitamin D and that has got to be a good thing!

Introducing our General Manager - Grant Morris - December 2020

We are thrilled to announce that we have appointed our first General Manager of Future Leaders Employment Services. Grant will be leading all aspects of the business and will be responsible for maintaining our high standard of service for our Wellington and Waikato programmes. Grant will also be working to grow our business, regionally and nationally, to support more rangatahi into sustainable employment or training.

Grant was born and raised in Whangarei before commencing service with the New Zealand Army in 1990. In the Army, Grant has held many different command, staff and training appointments throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as travelling extensively around the world participating in exercises and training activities, or deployed on operations. One of Grant’s previous roles was leading the New Zealand Cadet Forces, a youth development organisation of nearly 4000 members, and he is passionate about making a difference in the lives of our rangatahi.

Grant holds a Master’s degree in Training and Development, and has qualifications in business and adult education. Outside of work, Grant is married and has four teenaged children. Grant’s interests include tinkering with his classic MG sports car, motorcycle adventure riding and seemingly endless small jobs on his property in Lower Hutt. Grant is also a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand.

Some words from Grant

"I am very excited to be joining the Future Leaders team and feel quite humbled to be selected as the first GM of Future Leaders - Employment Services. Empowering people and helping them reach their full potential is what I’m all about, so I’m looking forward to bringing my skills and experience into play to add to what you all already offer our rangatahi. I look forward to getting to know everyone in due course and working with you on the next stage of the Future Leaders journey.”
Grant Morris, General Manager

Some words from Jethro

"Nau mai, haere mai Grant. I’m excited to announce that Grant Morris will join Future Leaders - Employment Services (FL-ES) as our first ever General Manager, starting in December. After having established FL-ES in 2014 and grown from a ‘one man band’, to now delivering our youth employment services in two regions to over 250 youth Job Seekers per year, it’s the right time to bring a fresh pair of eyes and experience. Ensuring that we keep up a high quality service, achieving in excess of 80% sustainable outcomes, managing the team, and strengthening partner relationships, all while keeping our youth clients front of mind. This will be Grant’s mission going forward, while I move into more of a strategic role, and able to put some focus on our youth leadership programmes.

Grant will hit the ground running, bringing years of advanced management and leadership experience from the NZ Army, head of the NZ Cadet Forces, and as a Team Leader at the Ministry of Civil Defence. He is deeply passionate about youth development and will champion our services to be impactful, client centered, agile and postured for helping more rangatahi across New Zealand.

I’ve promised to do my best in letting the reigns go from day-to-day management, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on how FL-ES continues to be a proud partner in the youth employment and development space. Grant is a self confessed people person, so keep an eye out for an invite to coffee or lunch in the near future, as he gets his feet under the table.

I look forward to this next chapter in making a difference in the lives of our young people."
Jethro Gilbert, Managing Director

A warm welcome to newest Waikato Youth and Employment Mentor - November 2020

A warm welcome to Tau Aholelei, Tau joins our team in the Waikato as a Youth Employment Mentor. Tau joins us with a military background with comprehensive experience in training and leadership development. In his training and leadership capacity his work not only spans across military, it has included working with government, non-government, schools and youth groups. Tau enjoys helping individuals develop and grow, steering them to towards their goals and achieve their desired outcome.  

As you can see Tau joins us with a wealth of experience and we are excited to have Tau join our Waikato team to support the needs of the region. 

"Future Leaders team delivers a unique service, and I am greatly honoured to be a part of this journey being entrusted with shaping and growing our rangatahi towards realising their potential for a brighter tomorrow”. 

Tau Aholelei, Youth Employment Mentor





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LOCATION 393 Evans Bay Parade,
Hataitai, Wellington 6021

POST PO Box 14402, Kilbirnie, Wellington, 6241
PHONE 0800 FUTURE (388 873)

WAIKATO Regional Office (NZ)

LOCATION Hamilton Yacht Club,
Innes Common, Hamilton 3204

PHONE 0800 FUTURE (388 873)