Head of State Services recognises Work and Income Nelson for innovative partnership with Kmart
Photo shows (from left to right) Work and Income Work Broker Kayne Obsborne, Kmart Zone Manager Jason Picard, Kmart Richmond Manager Camrin Holmes, Work and Income Employer Services Manager Lianne Nichols, and Kmart Stores General Manager Paul Walkden at the opening of the new Kmart store in Richmond on 7 November 2013.
Head of State Services and State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today recognised Work and Income Nelson for its project with Kmart. Close to half of the total number of staff hired by the retail giant for its new store in Richmond which opened this month were Work and Income clients.
“I learned of this project on a recent trip to Nelson. This is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to improve the lives of New Zealanders. That is what the better public services programme is all about,” Mr Rennie said.
With increasing expectations from New Zealanders and the continuing financial constraints on the public sector, Mr Rennie said public servants need to deliver services in innovative ways to get the best outcomes for their communities.
“I am thrilled to see Work and Income adapting to these challenges and I want to acknowledge them for what they are accomplishing,” Mr. Rennie said.
Seizing the opportunity
“When we heard the rumour that Kmart was opening a store in Richmond (near Nelson), we seized the opportunity,” Work and Income Nelson Employer Services Manager Lianne Nichols explained. “We got in touch with Kmart and proposed a recruitment plan. We were delighted when they made us the exclusive recruitment agency for the store’s general team members, working in general merchandise apparel and service areas,” she said.
Since getting the right referrals was critical, Work and Income case managers were briefed on the qualities required. Once the candidate pool was determined, a series of seminars were run to equip clients for the job application process and help them get a clear understanding of Kmart’s requirements. The team also informed partner course providers in business, hospitality and retail, who then sent clients they were training to the seminars.
The best qualified candidates were prepared for the interview. This included ensuring their CVs were of high quality, and making sure that they would present well to the employer. Of the total 87 staff Kmart hired, Work and income placed a total of 65 employees, 39 of which were already clients, into a mix of full-time, part-time, part-time flexi, casual and fixed-term roles. The remainder of the general staff vacancies were filled by students and Work and Income assisted with the selection process and coordinated the interviews for this group of employees.
“The calibre of the applicants was better than expected and we would have hired all 150 if we could,” Kmart Human Resources Manager Belinda Walsh said.
“We take the role of a responsible corporate citizen seriously – we want to support the communities that support our stores,” Ms Walsh added.
For more information see the Result 1 case study: Stocking up on jobs in Nelson
Media enquiries: Janryll Fernandez, SSC Communications 021 472 598