A free job-matching website for the Waikato region goes live today to support business owners and employees through COVID-19. The aptly named “Waikato Nxtstep” website is where Waikato businesses can list their vacancies and job seekers can list themselves. The idea came out of the Cambridge Business Chamber, in collaboration with Te Waka, Waikato's Regional Economic Development Agency, and has turned into reality in the space of a few short weeks.
Kelly Bouzaid, Chief Executive of the Cambridge Business Chamber said, “We quickly realised that COVID-19 was going to destroy our low employment statistics both in Waipa and the greater Waikato region. This website is a way to help match employers and job seekers quickly and locally, and to make the recruitment process as easy and effective as possible.”
Bouzaid wanted to stress that the website is not just for Cambridge, but is Waikato-wide.
“Our end goals are employment and business continuity for the Waikato. People are going to be looking for paid employment as we move between all 4 levels of the COVID-19 alert system, then into recovery. And when the lockdown levels change down there will be urgency in recruiting staff with the desired skill sets, including staff for the “shovel ready” infrastructure projects when they get the green light.”
Bouzaid said they have been able to get the website up and running quickly because they have been fortunate to piggyback on an existing online platform by NxtStep. The aim is for the website to achieve maximum benefit by including anyone wishing to use its capability and by capturing jobs available across sectors in the Waikato including cross-pollinating with other job listing sites and through wider collaboration.
Bouzaid called on the expertise of colleague, Jannat Maqbool, Smart Cities Advisor at Hamilton City Council and Senior Academic Staff Member at Wintec, who said “Selecting NxtStep to support us with this was an easy choice. They have an existing site that didn’t need much customization, their business model is all about supporting regions to retain talent, and they have staff willing to go the extra mile to help with the current situation.“
Nxtstep General Manager Poncho Rivera-Pavon added “ NxtStep is very proud to work with the Cambridge Business Chamber in their journey to support their community. Our speciality is forging products that showcase job opportunities, and most importantly, creating meaningful connections between job seekers and employers. We are determined to support the region by facilitating these relationships during this time. “
Bouzaid added, “There are a lot of great job websites out there for when times are normal, but because Waikato Nxtstep’s sole focus is our local region, we hope it will help find solutions fast for our families, neighbours and friends and help us all pull together to keep our community’s economy going.”