I am still wondering how I got so lucky to be in such an incredible job, but I thought I’d take this opportunity introduce myself and capture the experience I’ve had as an ATEEDer so far.

I am a Skills Programme Specialist, and I focus on workforce resilience with employers in Auckland, particularly around the future of work.  

One of my first experiences was before I started – I attended the Future Ready Summit as a Youth Employer Pledge Partner, in my former role as HR Manager at Viridian Glass. A highlight was hearing Anna-Jane Edwards and Xavier Black from The Southern Initiative speak about practical ways of sharing prosperity to south and west Auckland through working with businesses, which is something I am passionate about. I also enjoyed hearing Nicky Jones from MartinJenkins break down the research on the future workforce needs of Auckland and what it will mean for employers, especially having come from the building products industry and seeing how many more people will be needed for construction, but also how important human skills will be for the future. 

In my first weeks I struck major imposter syndrome – surrounded by unbelievable people and finding it difficult to understand what I was doing here. Part of the struggle was a whole new language to learn – my role sits in the Economic Development team – and talk of clusters, innovation precincts and doughnut economics was different to being in a factory in south Auckland every day, but I am getting my head around it. 

In my short time in my new role, I’ve  

  • Taken part in the Sustainable Business Council’s sprint with key Auckland partners to solve some of Auckland’s workforce challenges  
  • Learned the ATEED haka 
  • Discovered GridAKL and the AR/VR Garage in the Wynyard Innovation Precinct  
  • Listen to Greg Cross from Soul Machines talk about practical uses for AI – a growing influence in the modern world - at the University of Auckland 
  • Taken part in a workshop on automation for manufacturing businesses run by our Business and Enterprise team 
  • Made Tongan food for a shared Rugby World Cup morning tea 
  • Attended the launch of the new Joy Business Academy / Ministry of Social Development VR simulation tool, and had a play with a VR dump truck – tech that is now an everyday training tool in the construction industry  
  • Joined our GridAKL team on the Wynyard Innovation Neighbourhood (WIN) Forum 
  • Assisted with our Youth Employer Pledge event, where Auckland Council’s Justin Durocher and Michelle Collins taught us about human skills like empathy and creativity in the workplace 
  • Talked to employers about my experiences engaging with the Future of Work, and what they can do in their own businesses 
find out from Lauren what she has learnt about getting Auckland ready for the future of work

A recent highlight has been attending the Imagining Auckland 2029 Meetup hosted by Tech Futures Lab, where I heard Pam Ford (ATEED), Monique Warrington (impactNPO, Voluntari.ly) and Sarah Hindle (Tech Futures Lab) speak about the Future Ready Auckland Insights report, then go on to a wide range of topics on the future of Auckland.  

Monique shared her views as a software development student around her expectations for the workplace, including a desire to work somewhere that shared her values regarding sustainability practices, and having a purpose-driven mission, rather than solely being for profit. Sarah echoed this by emphasising that with the current and projected shortages for talent, employers will have less control. Sarah also gave me my quote of the night, referencing that technology can be ‘like fire, it can cook your dinner or burn your house down’ depending on what you choose to do with it. 

Pam shared that much of the projected growth will not be as a result of technological disruption and the changing nature of work but due to Auckland’s population growth. This led to discussion around the infrastructure and traffic challenges that Auckland is facing, and Pam pointed to projects such as the City Rail Link that show how this is being addressed by government, and how this is being delivered with minimal waste produced. 

find out from Lauren what she has learnt about getting Auckland ready for the future of work

There was also a discussion around loneliness and what is being done to address this. Pam described GridAKL as just one example of how ATEED is fostering collaboration between businesses by bringing start-ups together and creating a community. Monique described creating student events as a way to help reduce isolation when her courses are predominantly delivered online. 

There was a strong theme from all panellists about the need to act – this change is here now, and there are practical steps we can all take, whether as an individual or a business to create an incredible, vibrant society where everyone is included. 

So, two months in, while I’m still figuring a lot of things out, I’m feeling like I made the right choice to come to ATEED, and I am excited about what’s to come – including the 2020 Future Ready Summit, which I’ll be organising.  

If anything I’ve described above is something you’d like to hear more about, or you’d like to know how ATEED can support your business, please contact Lauren.


Tāmaki Makaurau is becoming future ready.

Sign up to our newsletter for up to date with information and resources to help you on your journey.