Published: 14 September 2022
Three young Lower Hutt locals are helping to shape their city through their work on Hutt City Council’s Wainuiomata Town Centre Upgrade while on placements with JFC, the project’s lead contractor.
JFC says these placement programmes are a way of making a positive difference for communities alongside the expected benefits of major infrastructure projects.
As part of a push for broader outcomes through procurement and contracting activities Hutt City Council encourages companies it contracts with to provide more job opportunities for local people with a commitment to ongoing training and development. This is consistent with council’s evolving approach to procurement.
For Wainuiomata High School students Greg Agius and Harlem Tapiata, the opportunity came through the high school’s Gateway programme, which aims to strengthen the pathway for students to progress from school into workplace learning.
Jared Thompson was originally introduced to JFC through Youth Inspire, a Lower Hutt organisation that supports local rangatahi into employment, training, and education. Jared completed a 14-week Youth Employability Programme at Youth Inspire, and then was offered a contract and accepted into the Training Academy stream of JFC’s Te Pou Manawa training and development programme.
Jared says his career aspiration was to work in civil construction, so his placement with construction company JFC as they are working on the Wainuiomata Town Centre Upgrade is a perfect fit.
“I have been loving that I get to learn the more technical side of construction,” Jared said. “People would be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into something simple like a footpath.”
Harlem was also interested in construction, as he has always wanted to be a builder. “The work I am doing with JFC is different from being a builder, but I am enjoying it so much!” Harlem said.
“I am enjoying hanging out with such a good group, and it’s great that everyone puts in a good effort to get the job done. I am learning a good work ethic, as well as so many new skills and finding my strengths.”
Greg wasn’t sure what he wanted to do at the end of the year, so he jumped at the opportunity to work with JFC.
“I want to focus on improving my people and communications skills,” said Greg. “I’m looking forward to learning new skills on the job.”
Both Harlem and Greg started their placements on 25 May. Harlem works one day a week with JFC until the end of the year, while also attending school and Greg has recently started working three days a week with JFC under an employment contract. Jared has a permanent contract working with JFC full time and has completed his first module under the Te Pou Manawa training and development programme, resulting in a pay increase over and above the living wage.
The upgrade of Queen Street will help to better reflect the mana of the community by creating a green space that links community resources – like the Queen St Reserve and the Community Hub – to shops and services.