Central Kids and SWIFT shine at business awards

South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT) and Putāruru-based Central Kids Early Education and have done the district proud at the Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

SWIFT won the Community Contribution award with Central Kids taking out both the For Purpose and People’s Choice Awards.

South Waikato District Council Mayor Gary Petley praised Central Kids and SWIFT for their awards success. “Both these organisations are setting a foundation for South Waikato to flourish by nurturing whanau and tamariki from early childhood through vocational training and into our workforce.”

The judges described Central Kids as an inspiring group of people. “The CEO has clearly created an environment that allows her team to thrive and pour everything into their work. We loved that the bi-cultural approach is multifaceted and woven into the fabric of everything the organisation does, making it authentic and meaningful.

“Central Kids has been educating our children for over 70 years and we look forward to seeing them continue to make an impact in their communities for many years to come.”

Accepting the For Purpose award, Central Kids CEO Christine Hall said, “We have 52 centres around the central North Island and the secret sauce is these guys,” indicating her team with her on the stage.

“The last 18 months have been about transparency through digitisation, and building shared accountability for our future success as Central Kids. I’m stoked that our hard mahi has been acknowledged.

“The role we play for whānau and tamariki is life changing and intergenerational, with grandparents now bringing mokopuna back to the service they attended. Not many businesses can boast this!”

The judges also lavishly praised Community Contribution award winner SWIFT. “SWIFT is playing an impactful role in the economic development and revitalisation of the South Waikato, a district facing significant barriers to prosperity and wellbeing.

“The Trust has demonstrated innovation and courage in leveraging its fund to promote and execute high impact, collaborative initiatives and projects such as the Trades Training Centre, which will address the shortage of skilled industry workers while also providing training and employment for local rangatahi.”

“As well as acting as a growth catalyst for the region by supporting its businesses, industries and workforce, SWIFT also aims to generate community wellbeing and resilience through understanding the needs and aspirations of its people and businesses and integrating them into its strategic approach.

“This is amazing work by a relatively small team of incredibly hard-working people! The property investments recently completed really put Tokoroa on the map. The Te Pukenga building is so much more than an investment property - it is creating economic opportunities for the people of the region every day.

SWIFT Chief Executive Amanda Hema said the $14 million Pūkenga Rau South Waikato Trades Training Centre is expected to train and place 500 youth into local jobs over the next five years.

The Waikato Business Awards are supported by Foster Construction Group, while the category sponsors are Chow:Hill Architects, Company-X, Deloitte, Hamilton Airport, Mitre 10, Montana Food & Events, SkyPoint Technologies, Sleepyhead, Tompkins Wake, Trust Waikato, the University of Waikato and Wintec Te Pūkenga.

The judging process is sponsored by 2degrees, while other support sponsors include ACLX, Air New Zealand, Barker Photography, Claudelands, Emblems, Fairview, INDx Media, Virtual Print, and Waikato Business News.

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