The employment initiatives by the Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc (ESAI) through its flagship Project Tinaku is creating wonderful career pathways for people around the district.
Project Tinaku was set up to create jobs, restore indigenous biodiversity, improve the environment and water quality and support Ellesmere farmers in achieving this goal.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries and its Jobs for Nature programme, and has so far created over 20 full-time and part-time jobs in the region.
Some of the staff are cutting their teeth on their first job while others are using Project Tinaku as a stepping stone to learn new skills or make a career change.
“It has been a life-changing opportunity working for Project Tinaku,” says Reuben Hunt, whose work with Tinaku recently lead to a new role as Senior Project Manager with Environment Canterbury.
“We are sad to see Reuben go, but his work with Tinaku created a pathway for him to a more senior role at ECan, which is exactly what the programme is all about,” says David Hewson, the Project Lead at Tinaku.
Hunt joined Tinaku as a conservation ranger to explore his interest in conservation and restoration after his contract ended with a previous employer.
“I’ve been planting a lot of native species, which are tailored for the right environments, and look after the maintenance as well once they are planted,” says Hunt.
Hunt and his Tinaku colleagues have also been setting up trap lines to monitor and kill the pests that eat the native plants and replant the ones that have been destroyed.
The Tinaku rangers often work on restoration projects alongside Department of Conservation (DOC) or other organisations, and working with PDP and DOC, Hunt also carried out some fresh-water monitoring.
“The testing puts in place a benchmark for the current water quality and then they’re going to look at how it’s trending over time,” explains Hunt, who has met many new people and increased his knowledge through Tinaku.
“The work with Project Tinaku has been a great opportunity and really has been that stepping stone from my conservation work into my new permanent role,” says Hunt, who is grateful for the support he received from the ESAI and the Tinaku team.
“There has been training provided both on the job and actual certification training. ESAI really looked after me and made the step from where I was, to where I was going pretty seamless.
“I really appreciate it, and if someone asked me whether to work for Tinaku, I’d be 110% recommending it to them.”