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Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Providing both ākonga and members of the community with education, training and employment pathways was the catalyst for collaboration between Toi Ohomai | Te Pūkenga, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Connected. 

The Toi Ohomai Careers and Employability team hosted a Summer Jobs event in 2021, and team leader Susie Borell says that the event coincided with a parallel initiative by MSD. The team recognised an opportunity and approached MSD and Connected. This opportunity swiftly transitioned into a strategic collaboration. 

“We recognised the synergy between our events, it made sense to collaborate, creating opportunities and bringing together employers, community members, their whānau and ākonga.” 

Susie says Toi Ohomai and MSD share a kaupapa of education, training and employment pathways, which made the collaboration a perfect alignment. 

The following year, Toi Ohomai and MSD joined forces to host the Spring into Work event at the Windermere Campus. This collaboration was a resounding success, attracting more than 200 individuals eager to explore study and work options. The event, co-hosted by Toi Ohomai, MSD and Connected, served as a platform for Toi Ohomai ākonga to discover employment opportunities while also allowing members of the community to explore potential study paths.

Building on this success, 2023 saw the continuation of the collaboration between Toi Ohomai, MSD and Connected. The three entities offered a series of four co-branded events, providing more opportunities for ākonga, employers, and the local community to connect. MSD and Connected continued their expos in Rotorua and Tauranga, while Toi Ohomai integrated this partnership into the existing Huihuinga Hapori Community Connect events, which were held at both Mokoia and Windermere campuses. 

“We had a range of employers at each event, Toi Ohomai had a presence at the events hosted by MSD, and MSD had a presence at our events offering ākonga the opportunity to explore Industries through the Virtual Reality headsets,” Susie says. 

The collaborative effort was well-received by the community, with feedback overwhelmingly positive. The events not only showcased employment opportunities but also demonstrated the commitment of Toi Ohomai and MSD to fostering education and employment pathways.

The Careers and Employability team has a focus on supporting ākonga who are transitioning into employment, making these collaborations instrumental in creating connections and enabling pathways for ākonga. 

“It’s great that we were able to provide four opportunities in semester two, working with local employers, the community and government agencies. We hope that these events will help bridge the gap between student job seekers and employers fostering local talent retention’’ 

With a keen eye on the future, Susie says there is potential for further growth.

“It is also something that we can continue to build on. We don’t know what next year will look like, but we have developed great working relationships with other agencies and teams that are actively engaged with the community and enabling people to get into education and employment.”

The collaboration has not only benefited the students but has also opened doors for the local community. 

“Working together at this scale is significant for our ākonga and communities.” 

The series of events provided a platform for face-to-face interactions with local employers, opportunities for virtual job experiences through VR Skills, and a chance to lay the groundwork for future enrolments in 2024.

This collaboration demonstrates the importance of partnerships, connecting pathways for education, training, and employment, and creating a positive impact on both students and the broader community.