Ventia and MPTT have had a longstanding partnership that is built on matching Māori and Pasifika trainees and tradies to employment opportunities where they can thrive. It’s has worked so well, in the Energy Sector, because of the quality and success of the MPTT graduates, that it is now leading to more demand in other Ventia Sectors.
Ventia are currently forecasting possible opportunities for current and future MPTT graduates across the Telco and Infrastructure Sectors, with other Ventia Sectors to follow.
Ricky Steedman, Kaitohutohu Māori and Strategic Relationships Manager, along with an internal Ventia working group called ‘Te Ara o Rehua’ are tasked with determining strategies and initiatives to improve, encourage and enhance Māori and Pasifika participation and employment within Ventia.
“Our roopu (group) are dedicated to nurturing existing Māori and Pasifika staff at Ventia and building the overall cultural capabilities across Ventia’s Aotearoa business.
“Ventia works hard to attract the best and the brightest people, to develop, grow and retain them. This is done through a values-based company culture aligned with authentic appreciation of all cultures.”
Te Ara o Rehua means ‘The pathway of Rehua’ – Rehua is a deity of the highest twelfth heaven in te ao Māori”. It speaks to the aspirational pathway and challenging journey that Tāne took to recover the three baskets of knowledge for mankind’s survival. This is an analogy, that the journey to attaining esteem and high achievement is never easy, but always worthwhile. And that the shared learnings from that exhaustive journey are varied and so rewarding for you and your whānau.
Ventia’s ‘Te Ara o Rehua’ has a why purpose statement – to inspire and grow our whānau, through culture. Our roopu believe that if the why is inspiring and authentic, then the how organically becomes compelled with passion. That passion becomes a commitment, and that commitment leads to a sustainable, successful outcome for all.
“We find that many people do not aspire or have the confidence to seek leadership roles. So, we work with individuals and groups to instil and develop the necessary skills that provide that empowerment. We also stay available to support their journey with mentoring and are looking to add a pastural support component.”
Rick Steedman is Kaitohutohu Māori and Strategic Relationships Manager at Ventia.
Success breeds success
Ricky joined Ventia from its predecessor company Visionstream, in 2009. He noticed that all the MPTT tauira were thriving and had glowing reports from their managers. Ventia are grateful for the evolving relationship with MPTT and the trust that the MPTT graduates and their whānau have in Ventia.
“I saw one group come and speak to new recruits. They were full of confidence and enthusiasm when they described their roles and the work they were doing at Ventia. They all sounded like they’d been there for years. There were also some women among them who could share their expertise of the technical side in a relaxed way.”
MPTT Scholar Christine Swepson is a great example of the success that awaits the ambitious at Ventia. She is now in the third year of an electrical apprenticeship and is delighted to be a Ventia employee. She says the support and culture is outstanding.
“They work really hard to look after people and create opportunities for support. I report to the city office, and they are often holding collaborative events, catch-ups and other opportunities to the team.”
You can read about Christine’s journey “From Suit to Sparky” here.
“The reason MPTT candidates do so well here is that we put them in roles where they can grow and have appropriate mentorship.
“The pastoral care and connection they receive from MPTT navigators is also vital. We make sure we’re supporting the whole person, and that includes their family life. It’s all tailored to the individual.”
MPTT Project Manager Sam Sefuiva greets Rick Steedman at MPTT’s Whanaungatanga Event earlier this year.
MPTT’s support is interwoven with Ventia’s
Sam Sefuiva, MPTT Project Manager, says MPTT tauira can access a range of supports to match their individual situation.
“We’re a practical, outcome-focused organisation working to increase the number of skilled, trade-qualified Māori and Pasifika in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
“With partners such as Ventia, we can create culturally supportive vocational pathways into the skilled trades and careers that have high-growth potential.
Ongoing support and mentorship from a Navigator with knowledge of Māori and Pasifika cultures is just one way we help. Our scholarship recipients also get the following targeted support.
- Free training in their chosen trade
- Work readiness preparation
- Guidance and help in securing paid employment
- Up to $1000 tool or equipment grant when employed
If you are looking to improve your pipeline of trades employees and support more Māori and Pasifika to succeed in the trades, register your interest here.
Cohorts give connection
Another aspect that gives MPTT scholars a unique experience at Ventia is that the company is big enough to hire groups of new tradies together.
“Most MPTT candidates come to Ventia as a cohort. They learn and grow together, and they have peers who understand where they’re at.”
Ricky knows first-hand how important it can be to have ongoing connections in your workplace. He began the energy industry with a group of peers in the 80s.
“Now, four of that cohort are at Ventia, with three of us here working at the Head Office together. We’ve moved through many roles in management, sometimes through different industries. But we still look out for each other and are great mates.
If you start out with Ventia, you’ll have the opportunity to go through a whole range of industries and roles if you want to.
For example, you could start in transport, go into a team lead role and transition across to other management positions in other sectors. We openly promote within the company – staff are encouraged to aspire and progress if they’re hungry to learn and climb the ladder.
Ventia supplies workers across the telecom, energy, transport, water and other infrastructure services, and for Auckland Council work from the Bombay Hills to Wellsford. This includes roles for electrical work, building, construction, park maintenance and more. The next recruitment drive for 2024 is currently being discussed and reviewed, so aspiring apprentices and those finishing pre-trades should speak to their MPTT Navigator.
“We’re currently looking for electrical staff in 2024, and have opportunities in water, transport and Council services facilities management. It would be great to see our MPTT people applying for these roles knowing they’ll be nurtured through their early years and supported right through to senior and leadership roles.
Ricky and MPTT’s David Parsons discussing opportunities for MPTT graduates across Ventia’s division.
Support is woven throughout the organisation
Ricky is not the only one who’s working to ensure Māori and Pasifika tradies have a place at Ventia.
Lincoln Isaacs is a talent acquisition coordinator with Ventia’s Scout Solutions, whose focus is finding skilled people to join the Ventia team. He says he is very proud to work for a company that celebrates its diversity every day.
Acacia Cochise is a Community Engagement Manager at Ventia and leads their diversity and inclusion projects. She is also on the Auckland Council’s Multi-ethnic Communities Advisory Panel.
Acacia is passionate about ensuring her colleagues can bring their whole selves to work and feel safe in doing so.
“I hold the well-being of our diverse communities in Ventia close to my heart,” she says.
As a woman with African American and Native American heritage, Acacia says she vividly recalls the difference having allies has made in her life.
“It’s possible to support someone and help them out even if you haven’t lived the same kind of life.”
Acacia has led the company to gain a Rainbow Tick and put on more youth events.
“Ventia sees that people just need to be empowered and supported. We’ve looked for easier ways for our trainees to access cultural seminars and knowledge.
“One of the tools we’re developing is an online cultural learning module for te ao Māori. It can be accessed online and in te reo, too. Our team that’s based outside the office is especially grateful that they’ll be able to make the most of it without needing to attend a course in person.
“Essentially, it is about accepting and valuing everyone in the workplace, embracing diversity, and creating safe and welcoming working environments where people can be their complete selves.”