By Aoraki Development chief executive Nigel Davenport
A well-known strength of the Timaru district and wider South Canterbury region is the diversity of our industry sectors and the significant career opportunities available.
However, while it is an obvious strength, this diversity also brings with it a few challenges, not the least of which is the wider range of skills needed across many roles by local business.
In addition to this, our business and industry sectors are facing a variety of complex challenges associated with compliance, regulatory, workforce, training, productivity, automation, sustainability and environmental footprints.
These are ongoing and important matters that must be addressed and considered and to attempt to do so in isolation creates its own pressure.
It is here we have seen a marked shift for the better locally across many of our industry sectors as numerous businesses, regardless of their size, are seeing the obvious benefits of collaborating or working more closely within and between their industry sectors.
A problem shared is a problem halved and the benefits of collaborating to address an issue, challenge or problem can significantly speed up finding and implementing a solution.
Over the past two to three years, we have seen some amazing examples of our local businesses people working together to make a difference and, in many cases, gain national attention for doing so.
With its third intake of students due to start early 2020, the industry-led local Transport and Logistics entry level course is providing many locals with a step up into employment into this growing local industry.
Another example is the Sustainable is Attainable project, in which more than 20 of our local food processors and manufacturers are working collectively on improving their sustainable and environmental footprint outcomes by collaborating with nationwide research and development academics on their byproduct and waste streams.
The commitment and enthusiasm from our business community to actively get involved in helping expose, educate and excite our youth on their future career pathways and further education opportunities has been matched by the involvement of our careers advisers, teachers, parents and other local organisations.
Testament to “it takes a community to raise a child”, this locally established award-winning MyNextMove Initiative is also the foundation on which the new Education to Employment brokerage service, recently announced by the Government for roll out nationally in 2020, is based.
These are leading and tangible examples of “Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much”.
Yes, we live in a relatively close geographic environment but the key advantage of this is that with everyone knowing everyone else, we can really make some great things happen that much more quickly – and that is exactly what is happening.
Within our business and industry sectors and, indeed, our wider community, we are blessed to have a variety of motivated individuals and businesses focused on doing the right thing by the people and communities of this great place we call home.
We as a community are well placed to do even more in the months and years to come by leading the way when it comes to collaboration and achieving the benefits of “Better Together”.