Our purpose to enable communities to thrive starts with our own people.
Downer’s Corporate Social Outcomes (CSO) team works across the whole business to provide work-ready programmes in partnership with funding partners such as Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.
These programmes include a range of training options for new employees in our industry, youth-specific courses, in-work pastoral care, cultural immersion for employees, as well as award-winning leadership programmes for our Māori tane and wāhine employees.
We are incredibly proud of the outcomes we deliver for our stakeholders and our business, and for the communities where we live and work. Since we started this work in 2011, we have had over 700 people come through our MSD-funded programmes and nearly 1,000 through our Te Puni Kōkiri programmes.
"Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi;
With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive"
Initially developed in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, Downer Basic is designed to introduction to the infrastructure sector, helping Work and Income clients to find employment opportunities in local communities around New Zealand. The programme is a shared commitment to invest up-front in practical training and skills development, allowing for potential employees to be trained, mentored and supported into full time employment opportunities and onto a career pathway.
Many graduates must overcome personal challenges to get to where they are today and many of our graduates have grown into frontline leadership position across the organisation. Communities are at the heart of everything we do and programmes like this have a positive impact on the communities we serve. More than 1,100 have graduates from this programme since 2011.
Whakatipu Tētēkura is a programme for Māori school leavers at risk of becoming NEETs (not in education, employment or training). The programme comprises a series of marae and classroom-based residential workshops, pastoral care and a supported career development pathway. Participants are permanently employed with Downer, supported through our In Work Success programme.
Downer was a finalist for our Whakatipu Tētēkura programme in the ‘2019 Diversity Awards NZ’ for ‘Tomorrow’s Workforce’. Acknowledging the place tangata whenua hold in Aotearoa.
We want to support Pacifika peoples and offer them training and a career pathway into our sector, by working with central and local government agencies and our wide supply chain. This programme is an extension of the successful Road Ready and Water Ready programmes and will be residential with a series of classroom- based workshops. The attendees will gain qualifications and life education with Pasifika frameworks that will get them work ready for permanent employment at Downer and our subcontractors.
Overall in the Downer workforce over 24% of employees identify themselves as Māori. In some locations and business units the percentage of Māori employees is as high as 38%.
Working alongside our partner Te Puni Kōkiri, Downer work to lift participation levels of our Māori workforce thought the development of a leadership programme designed to enhance Māori representation at all levels of the business. By encouraging the career progression of our Māori employees, we encourage them to become influential leaders and role models.
Find out more about Te Ara Whanake, Te Ara Whanake Wāhine and Te Ara Māramatanga programmes.
In 2011 Hawkins was invited by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to collaborate in the first (rekindled) Māori trades training partnership, ‘He Toki Ki Te Rika’ (He Toki), to ensure that Māori living in Christchurch were part of the rebuild of the city post- earthquakes. The Toki-led team within Ngāi Tahu are now also part of Tokona Te Raki, an innovation centre which carries the mana of Ngāi Tahu and includes some of the most progressive thought leaders focused on ‘what works for Māori learning and succeeding as Māori into the future’. This enduring partnership has supported the evolution of Ako Whakaruruhau, Hawkins Maori and Pasifika work matching and mentoring programme to optimise Māori and Pasifika apprenticeship and leadership success.
With the support of a Hawkins mentor, young Māori and Pasifika men and women are encouraged into an apprenticeship with a Hawkins subcontractor partner and work towards a career in construction.
Stakeholders include BCITO, Skills, MIT, Unitec, Auckland Māori and Pasifika trades training, Ara Education Charitable Trust, Genesis Youth Trust, Employment and Skills Hubs, NZ Police and many of our subcontractors.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant job losses across various industries. Delivered by our Corporate Social Outcomes team, these Road/Water Ready programmes provides displaced workers with essential skills to work in the infrastructure sector and access to a broad set of employment opportunities. With the overseas recruitment channel closed to our industry for some time, this is a great opportunity to focus on New Zealand-based sustainable workforce development and fill the sector skill shortage from within. Once the participants have completed their five-day course, they are deployed across an array of organisations, including Downer, our clients, and our subcontractor partners.
The government’s Mana in Mahi programme gives young people, particularly Māori and Pasifika, the chance to earn while they learn. The scheme is for adults age 18 -24 years who have been on a benefit for three months or more. They receive 30 hours of paid full time work a week, training for an industry qualification and the clothing and tools they need to start work.
Downer helped pilot the Mana in Mahi programme, providing employment opportunities through our subcontractors. We also offer the Downer Basic training and In Work Success support to help participants feel more secure in their new employment.
Hawkins has a long-standing relationship with Auckland airport, going back 40 years. We have delivered most building works at both the domestic and international terminals.
As part of our commitment to Auckland airport and the wider south Auckland community, Hawkins is a supporter of Ara jobs and skills hub. Ara’s goal is to help south Aucklanders into long-term jobs in the airport precinct. Ara is a joint initiative between the south Auckland community, government agencies, training providers and employers. Ara is helping to create pathways to employment and training. Hawkins has been committed to the evolution of the hub for over three years with our supply chain forming part of the wider employer network within the airport construction precinct supporting Ara. Over the last four years, more than 90 students from five nearby secondary schools had the opportunity to spend 1-2 days a week gaining work experience on the site.
Downer partners with Manawhenua in many areas across Aotearoa. We also have formed a strong nationwide partnership with Amotai - Supplier Diversity Aotearoa to support a growing register of Māori and Pasifika suppliers and subcontractors (defined as 50% ownership) which meet a number of our civil and building construction opportunities where we are not self - performing. We are an Aukokiri member which means we are part of the ‘driving current’ for growing supplier diversity opportunities.