ReTrain results in renewed passion for employment

February, 2021


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For Hinemihi Rikihana the ReTrain programme has given her the confidence and skills to pursue her passion and turn it into paid work.

For almost four years she had been in the tourism sector, starting in maintenance at Rotorua’s Te Puia tourism venture and moving to the retail store.

After returning to Rotorua from a short stint in Australia just over a year ago she was re-employed at Te Puia – but the COVID-19 lockdown meant she was soon out of a job entirely.

“Being off work, I was getting down and I knew I had to bring some money in even though my son and his father were working. I needed to contribute too,” she says.

This desire and a social media post led her to enquire, with her niece, about the ReTrain programme.

It is an initiative between the EMA, Te Arawa Group, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and the Ministry of Social Development to help Rotorua tourism and hospitality workers whose jobs were affected by COVID-19 the tools and support needed to find new employment opportunities.

ReTrain provides 18 certificates across a range of subjects to give trainees knowledge, skills and abilities that could lead to a job including digital literacy, health and safety, cybersecurity, personal effectiveness and job readiness skills.

“It gave me a lot of confidence. I just knew I needed a change, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got a foot in the door,” says Hinemihi.

Following short stints in the kiwifruit industry including being on the packing line and grading, and filling aerosol cans for Damar Industries, she had been out of work for a month before committing to pursuing her passion.

“I had a relation who had done nursing who I’d spoken to before I went to ReTrain and that kind of work had staying at the back of my mind,” says Hinemihi.

Hinemihi also had the opportunity to do work experience in healthcare as part of the ReTrain programme and used one of the learning modules about finding a position description and tailoring your CV and letter to apply to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao Trust.

Now Hinemihi is a healthcare assistant at the Trust’s medical practice and a little over a month into the job is loving it.

“I take people’s blood pressure, weight, height and things. I love it and there’s so much help here with my development,” she says.

As for the ReTrain programme, she says there is only one way to tackle it: “You’ve got to have the will do it and to do something different.”

Hinemihi was one of 23 people in the first ReTrain group. The second group recently completed the ReTrain programme and 23 are in work, four in work experience, four studying and two at home caring for whanau. 

As well as EMA certifications ReTrain graduates also receive the NZ Certificate in Business: First Line Management from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, and a laptop to help continue with their job search and professional development.

Anyone whose employment has been disrupted because of COVID-9 and is interested in the ReTrain programme can contact Julie Kerry at julie@tagh.co.nz for the next intake.

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