One of Aotearoa’s largest horticultural businesses, T&G Global, has teamed up with the Ministry of Social Development and Māori Wardens on a new programme to support sole parents enter the workforce.

The new programme, He Huarahi Hou (new pathway), has been set up to provide single parents with support and flexibility to help them enter the horticultural sector.

T&G Global Director of Operations, Craig Betty, says the new partnership will make a real difference in people’s lives and introduce them to a career in horticulture.

“We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with the Ministry of Social Development and Māori Wardens on this fantastic new programme to support sole parents as they enter or re-enter the workforce,” says Craig.

“We know sole parents can sometimes face barriers which might hold them back from working, such as support, transport and flexibility. We want to help remove these barriers. By partnering with the Ministry of Social Development and Māori Wardens, we can help support people into our workforce and provide opportunities that suit the needs of their whānau.”

He Huarahi Hou is a six-month programme between the Ministry of Social Development, Māori Wardens and T&G, which is initially being piloted in the Hawke’s Bay.

Pastoral care and support is provided by Māori Wardens to help participants prepare and manage work and family life, including budgeting skills and getting their driver’s licence. With T&G helping build their skills and capabilities whilst providing flexible working arrangements, and for the first three months of the programme T&G will also provide transport, to help people begin their career in horticulture.

“At T&G, flexibility is important to many of our team and it’s especially important to single parents so they’re able to combine work and family life. In our He Huarahi Hou programme, we’ve structured the hours to enable people to work during school time and we’re providing transport to and from work, as well as to help children get to childcare or school.

“Through this programme, we hope to help build their skills and capabilities and provide them with a pathway towards permanent employment with us,” says Craig.
The first seven He Huarahi Hou participants started at T&G this month after completing a work readiness programme with Māori Wardens.

Teone Te Rangi, Chairperson for Flaxmere Māori Wardens Trust, says the wardens are already noticing a complete change in participants since the beginning of the programme. “Their self-esteem and comradeship is growing; they’re jovial and full of laughter, and always looking forward to going to work,” says Teone.

“The ongoing support from the Ministry of Social Development is greatly appreciated during their transition to work, as is the support from T&G’s entire team, especially their designated support person for this programme.”

Karen Bartlett, Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development, says “sole parenting isn’t easy. It takes courage and commitment to add to the challenge by learning new skills and taking on a job. I congratulate the He Huarahi Hou participants for grasping the opportunity to work and to contribute to one of Hawkes Bay’s key industries.”

“With a strong and wide-ranging support network wrapped around them by Māori Warden’s and a good employer offering conditions to suit their needs, the team have made a great return to the world of work. I look forward to hearing about their journey over the next six months and beyond,” says Karen.

The programme is first being piloted in the Hawke’s Bay, with the goal of expanding to other regions in the future.

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