Waimate has received a $250,000 boost to help shake up the job market in the district and create new employment opportunities.
The money is to establish a Community Recovery Initiative in the district, in collaboration with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs and the Ministry of Social Development.
The initiative has been rolled out by 23 rural councils throughout the country, after a successful pilot in four other districts.
Lisa Dobson started last week as the new Waimate District Council employment co-ordinator, and the role was created using the funding. As part of her role, she will work closely alongside local business owners to assist with recruitment, training and guidance.
Mrs Dobson said she was excited about the new position and keen to get started.
“This is such a great opportunity to make a big difference to the growth of the district and looking ahead. It’s about getting to know the community and them getting to know me … we’ll take it from there,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to working with potential employers and equally helping to support those looking for work. The opportunities on both sides are there and in this role, I’ll certainly be doing everything I can to help identify that potential.”
Prior to joining the council, Mrs Dobson was employed in two part-time roles with the South Canterbury District Health Board and also has a background in hospitality, tourism and project management.
“It’s like a jack of all trades really, but using a certain set of skills across the varying roles,” she said.
“I’m really keen to see where the training shortfalls are throughout the Waimate district, seeing where support is needed and working to get plans in place to facilitate required training programmes.”
Mrs Dobson has two daughters with husband Stephen, and they also run Gunns Bush Camp, an accommodation venture they took over in 2019.
”We love this district and the great outdoor lifestyle it has to offer, so I’m looking forward to getting more involved within the community.”
Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley said the programme would be well received throughout the district and he was thrilled to welcome Mrs Dobson on board.
“This is a great plus for our district and will help to connect employers looking for staff and vice versa, jobseekers looking for employment.
“It’s a great fit and aligns well with everything going on around the district from an economic development perspective, too.
“We see this position to be an important link between council and businesses and believe there’s going to be some great opportunities opening up that will continue to both expand and push the district forward.”