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The Influencers: Joanna Norris


ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive

Having the right skills to supply the future job market is crucial in repositioning Ōtautahi Christchurch for social and economic prosperity.
Unemployment in the city was 4.2 percent, similar to the national average of 4.4 percent (as at the end of March 2020). Since the lockdown, the number of Jobseeker Support Recipients, an early indicator of unemployment levels, in Canterbury has increased by 35 percent compared to 31 percent growth nationally. We expect this rate to rise when the support of the central government wage subsidy is removed.
The impact of Covid-19 will be much clearer at the end of the June quarter. But in real terms, this means between 12,500 and 20,000 people will be unemployed in Christchurch over the next 12 months. That is why we are acting now to support people into new jobs and build a talent pipeline for the sectors that have job opportunities.
One of the first initiatives is a city-wide career and study expo on 6 August, at Vodafone Innova8, Tuam Street. Industry and tertiary partners will be delivering workshops and highlighting the types of employment and training opportunities that will be in-demand and advising on how people unemployed or looking to re-train to a future-focused sector can get involved.
This is an important first step in a programme of work that will address our current and future employment needs, with the ultimate goal of positioning Ōtautahi Christchurch with the right skills and employment opportunities to future-proof our economy and meet changing global demands.

The Influencers: Leeann Watson


 

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

In the last few weeks, we saw the nation collectively holding its breath as it became apparent that our border control and testing regime was not as rigorous as we thought.
It was incredibly disappointing to hear about some people entering the country then disappearing off the radar. New Zealanders have lost lives, jobs and businesses due to COVID-19 – and taxpayers will be re-paying the Government’s borrowed money for at least a generation. If those coming back are not meeting their obligations in respect of self-isolation or quarantine, then there does need to be consequences.
New Zealanders need to have confidence that our border controls, quarantining, testing and contact tracing processes are robust and reliable. We cannot afford to be in a position where we have to return to lockdown.
With today’s access to technology where information can be easily and systematically collected to help manage these risks and reduce human error, then that should be happening.
Businesses will need to continue to access highly skilled people from offshore to help with – for example – maintenance of specialised equipment to ensure that critical network infrastructure is not degraded. Similarly, there will be economic opportunities in areas such as tertiary education. We also want to continue to push for a trans-Tasman bubble to help boost our tourism sector.
In order to do this, we all need to have confidence in the process, because the crippling economic and social costs of another lockdown is incomprehensible given what our team of five million has been through and given up.