Article by: Ministry for the Environment & Bay Conservation Alliance
Thursday 4th of March 2021
“Now I’m excited to go to work, and I feel like I’m actually making a difference in
Bay Conservation Cadet, Nathan Wakely
A $3.5 million grant from the Jobs for Nature programme is training a new group of environmental
guardians in the Bay of Plenty, says Secretary for the Environment Vicky Robertson.
The Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi is an employment, training and development
programme which upskills people who are unemployed, under-employed or those changing career
pathways, in environmental management and restoration.
Bay Conservation Alliance received $3.5 million through Ministry for the Environment’s Jobs for
Nature funding, to deliver the Bay Conservation Cadets programme.
“We want New Zealanders to learn environmental management skills that they can carry with them
for the rest of their lives. It is through this long-term learning approach that we ensure that both Te
Taiao (the environment), and those employed through projects funded by Jobs for Nature will
thrive well beyond the life of the programme,” said Vicky Robertson.
Over the next five years, the programme will employ 150 people, through three intakes of 10
cadets each year, for a 12-week training and work experience period.
Cadets are working with 29 environmental experts to learn skills in areas such as pest control,
predator control, weeds, planting plans, outcomes monitoring and conservation dogs, to enable a
career path into the environmental sector.
The hope is that the hands-on learning, the environmental certifications and the career coaching
provided by the programme will help the cadets to find longer term employment.
“This is a big social investment in people – creating confidence, self-esteem and awareness of
what’s possible,” said Bay Conservation Alliance’s Education and Training Manager Brian Ireland.
Bay Conservation Cadet, Misty Peni said while she was from Pirirākau, Tauranga Moana, she knew
little about her whakapapa, but her time on the programme was changing that.
“I’ve slowly been learning about who I am and where I’ve come from. So, this [programme] is going
to really help me to understand a lot.
“I definitely feel like I’m heading in the right direction now,” said Misty.
The Jobs for Nature programme was created to support a greener recovery from the COVID-19
pandemic. It provides $1.245 billion over a four-year programme to create nature-based jobs to
protect and restore our natural environment.