New community-led skills and employment hub for Western Bay

Earlier this year, Priority One was successful in partnering with Government to create a community-led skills and employment hub to meet the region’s predicted imminent labour shortage.

Named Ara Rau – Pathways to Work, the hub is a one-stop shop where people can obtain all the information they need regarding employment, training and upskilling.

Nigel Tutt, Priority One Chief Executive, says the region’s predicted labour market shortage shows the real need for the hub.

“Growth predictions for our region indicate we will establish 25,000 new jobs by 2038, rising to 40,000 by 2050. Our region needs to grow our people so that we can meet that demand and Ara Rau will help facilitate that by growing relationships and providing key information.”

The first of its kind in New Zealand, Ara Rau will operate as a point of connection for job seekers, employers and service providers (pastoral care, training providers, etc) – acting as a broker between the three, looking to support and enhance existing efforts and ensuring each has all of the information they need to make better choices.

“We recognise that overall, significant change is needed in how we best serve, support and prepare people for the evolving workforce. To do that, we need to partner with our communities to truly understand the need and offer a solution, creating a positive, inclusive and empowering employment culture for our region.”

A particular focus of Ara Rau will be supporting Māori in partnership with Toi Kai Rawa Trust who are focussed on accelerating the potential of Māori across the Bay of Plenty.

Toi Kai Rawa General Manger, Awhina Ngatuere, is supportive of the aspirations of Ara Rau.

“Our focus needs to be on increasing Māori aspiration, participation, attainment and ability in which to contribute to a high value economy in this region. We look forward to collaborating and contributing to this important Kaupapa.”

Ara Rau will be operating a drop-in space for job seekers, employers and service providers alike from their base at the rear of 29 Grey Street. The Ara Rau team will be run by Jay Tihema (Operations Manager) who has had a career working in career and employability development.

For more information about Ara Rau, contact Jay at