How the Future Ready: Money Confidence course at work led to changes at home for Sara and Niusila.
For Sara and Niusila, taking part in Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s Future Ready: Money Confidence course has had noticeable benefits in terms of budgeting, saving and even their confidence at work.
Sara and Niusila both work at Van Den Brink Poultry’s Auckland processing plant, but that’s not the only thing they have in common. Both moved to New Zealand from Samoa at a young age, and both have families relying on their income.
Before taking the course, Sara and Niusila struggled to manage their spending and to put money aside, particularly living in an expensive region like Auckland. That’s changed – and they’re both feeling upbeat about continuing to make positive changes in the future.
Supporting families with low-wage work
Like many Pacific people, Sara moved to New Zealand to find a better life – and to provide for her family back home. She migrated from Samoa in 1984, at the age of 20, and worked at several manufacturing and processing companies – including Fisher & Paykel in East Tāmaki – before joining the Van Den Brink team.
After five years at Van Den Brink, Sara now works as a charge hand, supervising a team of 12-15 on the factory floor. Throughout her working life, she has sent money back to Samoa to help her extended family, as well as supporting her late husband and three children.
All my life I’ve been working, working. I’ve struggled along, all my life. I have three children, my husband was epileptic, and I had to look after him.
Sara - Course graduate
Niusila also migrated to New Zealand from Samoa at the age of 20, to find work and support her family. Like many migrants, she found employment opportunities were limited. Through church and family connections, she managed to find work in factories and processing plants, working in a range of roles before joining Van Den Brink.
After two years on the job, Niusila now works as a process worker and packer. She’s currently going through a training programme, which will give her the skills to become a team leader in future.
Like Sara, Niusila supports her children and husband on her income and sends money back to her extended family when she can.
Building skills and making changes
For both Sara and Niusila, supporting their families with relatively low-wage work hasn’t always been easy. The cost of living in Auckland is high, and they both struggled to save before taking the Future Ready: Money Confidence course.
Before the course, sometimes we would withdraw savings and use them because we didn’t have enough money, now we’re saving from my wages – that’s a good thing. We go to the shops and buy only the things that we need, we don’t buy everything.
Niusila - Course graduate
The eight-week course involved budgeting advice, saving and goal-setting – helping participants grow their money confidence and learn to make better spending decisions. It has had a real impact on both families.
Sara explains, “Budgeting, stuff about doing the interest, the more money you owe, the more interest. Normally before, I never had any money on my account. Since doing the course, it’s a must, not a need. When you go to the shop, is it something you want, or something you need?”
Setting goals and sharing skills
A key part of the course focused on setting savings goals. The training, delivered by education provider Upskills, talked about how putting a little money aside each week could add up to a significant amount over time, and encouraged learners to set their own savings goals.
Sara’s goal – a new TV for the family – has already been achieved. As she explains: “At the end of the course I bought myself a TV. They put up the figures of how much you could save if you put aside money every week.”
Sara has also used her newfound money confidence to push her team to make better spending decisions, encouraging them to bring lunch to work instead of buying it every day.
“I always tell them off when they go to the canteen, to the lunch bar. I’ve been telling them it’s way cheaper to make their own lunch,” she says.
Niusila’s savings goal is a bit larger – she wants to buy her own home. Although that goal is a way off, she is already putting savings aside and sharing her knowledge with her children. She says they have already started to take on her money-conscious messages.
“When I give them money, especially the oldest one, she can use her $20 for the whole week. I used to make her lunches, but I want her to learn about budgeting. Now, after the whole week, she still has some money left to offer at church.”
Future growth, future goals
Sara and Niusila are both enthusiastic about the Future Ready: Money Confidence course, and keen to continue their learning journeys into the future.
For Sara, the course was a supportive, positive learning experience. The skills she has learnt are being used in her everyday life at home and work, and she’s already put her name down for a leadership course.
“With the money confidence, I’m so grateful that I have done it. On my graduation day, I said it’s not a want, it’s a must.”
Niusila has made great strides at home, and she’s working hard towards her goal of home ownership.
“I can manage how to do the budget, how to save – it was a wake-up call for me.”
Real skills, real changes – Project Ikuna
The Future Ready: Money Confidence course that made such a difference to Sara and Niusila is part of Project Ikuna, a four-year, MBIE-funded programme to help upskill Auckland’s Pacific workforce. It’s aimed at giving people the skills and knowledge they need to adapt to the future of work, particularly after the economic impacts of COVID-19.