Upskill West Coast takes home EDNZ Award

06 November 2023
Development West Coast
Development West Coast took home the award for ‘Best practice for Collaboration’ at the recent Economic Development New Zealand Awards for the Upskill West Coast project.

Upskill is a collaborative initiative focused on supporting people to attain recognised qualifications and creating sustainable employment opportunities.

The project aims to bolster recruitment and longer-term retention of employees, which attracts and keeps people in the region, grows business and draws new businesses to the West Coast.

Led by DWC and supported by Ministry of Social Development, the project’s delivery is managed by local HR and project management firm, Productive People Ltd. It is staffed by two experienced recruitment and training consultants – Tania Washer and Alice Moynihan.

Upskill was made possible with funding support from Kānoa.

DWC economic development manager Jo Birnie said in the three years since it was established, Upskill West Coast has helped place over 700 people into employment on the West Coast.

“That's over 4 percent of our workforce, and working with over 8 percent of West Coast businesses - a massive effort. Not only is Upskill creating opportunities for those directly supported, but it’s helping lay the groundwork for the region going forward.”

“It was a privilege for our project to be recognised nationally at the EDNZ awards," said Upskill Manager Tania Washer.

"Our work has had such a positive impact across the West Coast region economically, bringing new people to the region, as well as supporting current residents into new job opportunities. Upskill funding has helped hundreds of people to train within their chosen careers, enabling promotions and career changes.

“We have experienced some very difficult times, working with small business owners during and after Covid lockdowns to come up with staffing solutions to help keep their companies open, and we are now seeing the ongoing benefits truly come into fruition, with many businesses growing and taking on even more staff.

"I could not be more pleased that the project has been extended well into 2024 as there is still so much work to be done," she said.

DWC was also a finalist in the ‘Best practice for Innovation’ category for its regional recruitment and media outreach work.

The Supreme winner at the EDNZ Awards was Toi EDA (Eastern Bay of Plenty Regional Economic Development Agency) for the Pākihikura (Ōpōtiki) Harbour Project.

Talking about all of the finalists, Gary Holmes from EDNZ said: “We know there is a tremendous amount of energy and collaboration that goes into getting these projects off the ground, all for the betterment of your region.”

EDNZ photo

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