New work campaign to empower women

An initiative to empower women to join Christchurch's labour market has been launched in a bid to counter the lack of skilled migrants boosting the local economy. 

ChristchurchNZ, the city council’s sustainable economic development agency, developed PowerUp after Statistics New Zealand’s household labour force survey data estimated 20,000 local women could re-enter the workforce if supplied with the necessary advice and support.

Designed as an information hub to connect women with employment and career opportunities, PowerUp also stemmed from a skilled migrant advocacy paper ChristchurchNZ and the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce delivered to the Government in April.

It requested an increase in skilled migration as the impacts of an extreme skilled labour shortage applied the brakes to Canterbury’s economic growth.

“The campaign was a direct result of businesses crying out for more staff and the enormous untapped potential of attracting more women into the workforce,” said ChristchurchNZ chief executive Ali Adams.

“Our research has shown that practical adjustments, such as flexible working arrangements or meaningful roles, can be real drivers for women when choosing employment.”

The campaign runs until November and will be followed by contact with potential employers to equip them with the right information to provide, said Adams, “an attractive and supportive workplace”.

PowerUp features expert advice from career coach Claire French and information on regional support agencies, networks and opportunities.

There’s templates for cover letters and CVs plus videos of four women sharing their new career journeys.

Dale Jackson, one of the case studies, owned her own gym and worked as a postie, drug tester and on the Covid-19 helpline before her current role in customer service at Datacom.

She said barriers such as a lack of confidence, information overload and a lack of coherent, trustworthy resources are preventing many women from taking the next step in their career journey.

Dale Jackson.
Dale Jackson.
“I think as females we are tough on ourselves and that makes job hunting hard. But now I know I can rise above that. We are stronger and braver than we think and know way more than what we think. So just believe in yourself. If you can’t believe in yourself, then how can anyone else?” she said.

Events will also be a key component of the campaign as ChristchurchNZ plans forums to inform women on high-demand sectors, such as tech, and facilitates networking with other women, employers and support agencies.  

ChristchurchNZ marketing manager - business, Kylie Yardley, said a women in tech seminar, and an event designed to ensure members of ethnic communities were work-ready, are also being planned.

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