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Conservation Volunteers New Zealand

The Conservation Work Skills (CWS) programme is an innovative programme delivered as a partnership by Conservation Volunteers NZ (CVNZ) and the Ministry for Social Development (MSD). Started in 2018 the programme’s aim is to help unemployed people get back into the workforce. The ethos of the CWS programme is that all New Zealanders should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.  CWS equips participants with practical and transferable skills and provides opportunities for local job seekers to gain paid employment. During training the team develop practical skills in conservation (planting, weeding, nursery work, predator control, track construction etc) and obtain industry training (Chainsaw, GrowSafe, First Aid) while working on local conservation projects aimed at supporting threatened species recovery and improving water quality.

The programme has been designed to develop employment pathways and partnerships with businesses to grow sustainable employment outcomes within the conservation/ environmental sectors.  CVNZ have run over 35 programmes in relationship with MSD with programme objectives including:

-      Building practical skills in conservation

-      Providing industry standard certificates

-      Developing soft and transferable skills

-      Developing cultural connection and understanding

-      Creating employment pathways and employment outcomes

-      Supporting land managers to achieve conservation outcomes

-      Building positive connections between participants and community

Over the past few months Citycare Property has employed four graduates of the training programme on fixed term contracts. The new team members are working on a berm transition project including pest plant control at Waimakariri Gorge in Christchurch.

According to Open Space Maintenance Manager Steve Frame, the graduates have made a significant and valuable contribution to our work programme at the same time as learning new skills and making the most of opportunities to work in a space they enjoy.


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CVNZ participant Rachel Davis