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The Conservation Work Skills programme

The Conservation Work Skills (CWS) programme was developed by CVNZ in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in 2018 to help unemployed people get back into the workforce. This programme recognises that caring for the environment provides a platform for engaging with people, building skills and employment pathways, as well as improved health and wellbeing.

CWS equips participants with practical and transferable skills and provides opportunities for local job seekers to gain paid employment in conservation related work. During the programme, participants develop practical skills in conservation (planting, weeding, nursery work, predator control, track construction etc), obtain industry training (Chainsaw, Growsafe, First Aid) while working on local conservation projects aimed at supporting threatened species recovery, environmental restoration and improving water quality. Our team leaders also help participants create CVs, apply for jobs and work on interview skills.

A key focus of this programme is the development of employment pathways and partnerships with potential employers supporting sustainable employment outcomes. This is achieved by delivering inhouse training and partnering with industry professionals to enable every participant to hit the ground running when they apply for work.

The programme has been incredibly successful with 70-80% of the 200+ CWS graduates as of 2021 going on to paid employment and not returning to the Job Seekers benefit. Additionally, the continued increase in CWS teams across the country is another testament to its success and an example of our vision at CVNZ – Inspiring change by connecting people with nature.

CVNZ has run the CWS programme in Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland, Māwhera – Greymouth, Porirua, Kāpiti Coast, Ōtautahi – Christchurch, Ōtepoti – Dunedin, Harihari, Te Papa-i-Oea – Palmerston North and Kawatiri Westport. In a few of those locations, there are 2 or more CWS teams working simultaneously to meet the demand. The programme duration is 3 days a week for 12 weeks and it helps the participants acclimatise to the new work environment, learn some of the basics and grow close as a team. They are paid for their work in addition to being provided with necessary uniform, PPE, lunch and transport.  

CWS participants have time and again proven that you can still have a lot of fun while doing great work.

If you are interested in finding out more or would like to get involved, please email [email protected] or call us on 0800 56 76 86.