Economic development agency launches new app to match employers with talent

The Whanganui City Economic Development Agency wants to see residents swipe right to a new matchmaking app set up to match Whanganui businesses with skilled workers.

Talent Connect is the first app of its kind in Whanganui, developed by Whanganui & Partners to connect employers and professionals with the skills they need or have to offer.

Whanganui & Partners, which is funded and follows the strategic direction set by Whanganui District Council, said the best feature of the app is that it is exclusive to Whanganui professionals.

Strategic Leadership Capability Lou Tyson Walker said the skills-based app aims to help professionals find their next business partner, employee or gig.

“It works pretty much the same way the dating app Tinder does,” Tyson Walker said.

“You swipe left, swipe right – it’s a similar thing, but to connect employers with potential employees or people who want work done.

“It could be, for example, that I’ve started a new business and want to design a website. I can log into the app and search for a website designer to do some contract work. And then I start sweeping, depending on the specific skills and experience I need.

“It can be used the same way if you’re looking for a trade – you can see what kind of experience, for example, a builder has and if they’re a good fit for the project.

“Not only that, but we have a lot of people in the community who want to change careers or who have skills that could be used in another industry.

“For example, they may have been building for years or welding, but they’ve never done boat building. They have these transferable skills that would allow them to lean into, for example, marine engineering or other industries. “

The free app was developed in conjunction with Whanganui-based IT specialists, New Zealand Computing Solutions. It went live last week after a soft launch with internal stakeholders.

Around 50 Whanganui businesses and professionals have already signed up and the platform is expected to grow rapidly.

Tyson Walker said many companies are looking to fill vacancies in Whanganui’s fast-growing job market.

“We know businesses in Whanganui are looking for talent right now and we know we have a population of professionals with transferable skills to offer the business community.

“If you drive down Heads Road you can see signs everywhere looking for workers. I went to a cafe the other day and the manager said ‘I need to tell you about this app’.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to be very excited about it. Just this initial connection with companies to say, listen, these are my skills, can I connect with you, can I have a conversation or a kōrero about how I might be a match for your business and what I need to be able to do to get my foot in the door and explore options with your business.”

Local Democracy Reporting is public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air

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