Sustainable business = good jobs for everyone

21 June 2016

A partnership between business and local community groups is helping job seekers in one South Auckland suburb to find work.

One of the most exciting things about progressive businesses is their desire to improve the lives of everybody in their community. This increasing sense of responsibility has sound business roots. The local community is where businesses live. The people around it are its customers, its staff and its neighbours. And studies like the recent Colmar Brunton Better Futures Report show a majority of people want to work for socially and environmentally responsible companies.

Access2Employment (A2E) is a pilot programme set up by Accelerating Auckland, in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network, Auckland Libraries and Neighbourly. It aims to create pathways for local people to find local jobs, breaking down barriers between those seeking work and the local business community.

Viv McGowan, Hubbards Human Resources manager, said: “When we get asked to take part in an initiative like this we ask ourselves three questions. Is it in our community? Will it benefit the community and will our employees be behind it?”

Hubbards has a long track record of good works in its community. The firm employs 170 people, a lot of whom are local to their main plant in Māngere, Auckland. So assisting those in the area that have been unable to find work seemed a logical thing to become involved in.

Viv has had experience of similar projects in her career. For example, recently she’s been helping extended family members of Hubbard employees with their CVs. She was positive about the experience of working with A2E.

“The participants’ genuine desire to take control of their lives and move forward was inspiring,” she said. “The individuals involved in facilitating were equally enthusiastic and committed to what they are doing to help improve things in the community.”

The pilot programme has already started to help people find work.

Rachel Kapea is one person who has been helped by the programme. Rachel was working as a caregiver while bringing up her five children. She had put a lot of time into getting a computer course and polishing up her CV. With additional help from A2E she has now landed a role as a whanau support worker with Counties Manukau Health.

“I’ve been waiting two years to get a job like this,” she said.

A total of sixteen different local employers and service providers have already participated in A2E offering advice on roles available, insight on the skills they are seeking and access to local resources available to support jobseekers. With the programme now well established at Māngere Town Centre Library, planning is now underway to establish the A2E programme at Ōtara.

“We’re looking forward to replicating the success of A2E in other areas,” says Judy Speight, of Accelerating Auckland. “Bringing together a group of local job seekers has not only been really encouraging for them but also for those willing and able to help them.”

Viv adds: “This programme reminds me why I love my job, especially being lucky enough to work at Hubbards doing that job. I don’t just work for Hubbards; I work for the broader community. This has enabled us to demonstrate our commitment to the continued sustainability of our community.”

Would you like to find out more about Access2Employment, or how your business can make more of a positive impact in your community?  Contact Sam McGlennon – sam@sustainable.org.nz