As a result of almost a decade of significant research, trials and learnings, Te Hiku o Te Ika Iwi Development Trust initiated a new and disruptive pilot, Tupu, to trial a local workforce development solution for the horticulture industry. The Tupu Programme is a collaborative approach that is learner-focused and industry-led, locally designed and delivered, regionally supported and centrally enabled. The programme’s key differentiation from other traditional group training schemes are the Iwi-Crown partnership, the cross-government and broader stakeholder collaboration, a Kaupapa Māori approach, and providing a holistic, supported network of cultural and pastoral care.
The key findings of the programme were:
- The Tupu programme is a ‘learn as you earn’ model and the first group employment scheme in Te Hiku and the horticulture industry in Aotearoa. Tupu successfully addressed the paradox between the large pool of unemployed and underutilised in the region, with the high demand locally for reliable, resilient and skilled employees. This continues to be a key driver of the Tupu programme.
- The programme is demand-led and works directly with an industry which historically has had a variable experience of employment schemes. It is delivered to and through a demographic that faces considerable multi-generational challenges and barriers to training and employment.
- Group Employer and Host Employers grew into their functions over the year and demonstrated a significant shift in employer attitudes and behaviours concerning hiring local staff as a circular model. Host Employers have taken on Kaingaki Kāri as permanent employees. The collective stakeholder and co-contributing agency approach of the Tupu model has successfully provided proactive support, solutions and ongoing iteration during implementation of the programme.
This report describes the whakapapa of the Tupu programme, the approach, and the learnings, throughout the first year of a two-year incubation period. In addition, a summary and recommendations for further iteration for the maturity and sustainability of the programme are provided.