Introducing Hannah Neman, Relationship Lead Engagement and Partnerships
Hannah Neman joins Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council as the Relationship Lead Engagement and Partnerships.
“I help drive industry relationships by working closely with partners and Tangata Whai Mana (stakeholders) to understand the system’s capacity to meet industry and learner needs. I work to identify and address barriers that can impede delivery or attainment of success."
Hannah Neman, Waihanga Ara Rau’s Relationship Lead Engagement and Partnerships, doesn’t do anything by halves. She’s been a sponsored skateboarder/model, committed her life to music, enjoyed a background in education, both provider and Government side, and that’s just the beginning.
The eldest of eight children, hailing from America, Hannah has enjoyed a long and decorated career that, while richly diverse, reveals a common thread – creativity, enriching the lives of others, and a love of learning.
“I’ve been a professional musician and arts administrator for two decades and spent five years as a stage manager and theatre technician. I relocated to Wellington from America in July 2014 with my partner and completed a Masters in Music at Victoria University, then toured around the country delivering outreach programmes with organisations including Orchestra Wellington and North Shore Brass Band.”
After completing her Agile Certification at the end of 2020, Hannah worked for the Ministry of Education (MoE) as Programme Coordinator – Agile for the Infrastructure and Digital Directorate before joining Waihanga Ara Rau in November 2021.
“When people ask me why I chose Waihanga Ara Rau over say, Toi Mai, it comes down to a key lived experience for me – I’ve been a woman in a man’s world. My passion is equity, and I want to lead projects where we create more equitable opportunities for women to thrive in the construction and infrastructure trades.”
Hannah is currently leading the engagement piece for two workstreams in the equity space. The first is a Shared Data Platform Project, which aims to surface the collective intelligence of the vocational education ecosystem and generate rich insights with iwi, hapū and Māori organisational partners, industry partners and the diverse communities and regions serviced by the WDCs. This project works across the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and other workforce initiatives to unlock greater workforce and career opportunities for a more inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.
The second workstream is the Industry Equity Project. “I’m proud to be leading the Industry Equity Project, which creates pathways and reduces barriers for women who have lost their jobs or had their employment impacted by COVID-19 to transition into careers within the trades,” Hannah explains.
“A key focus is specialised support designed for Māori and Pacific career seekers and to support employers in these sectors to create safe and respectful workplaces that are ready to hire women.”
While no two days look the same in Hannah’s role, she has some key objectives.
“I help drive industry relationships by working closely with partners and Tangata Whai Mana (stakeholders) to understand the system’s capacity to meet industry and learner needs. I work to identify and address barriers that can impede delivery or attainment of success. I aim to lead and communicate in a clear and impactful way with my team members to empower them to embrace change and act on behalf of the industries they represent.”
As part of the Relationship Management team, Hannah has a keen eye for monitoring industry trends and identifying opportunities and potential implications for our workforces. Hannah says a key priority is being clear on the pain points that could prevent our industries from being sustainable.
“Issues won’t be solved overnight, but we want to address them. To do this, we need clarity about the challenges employers and learners face, and we also need to work with them to define what success looks like.”
When Hannah isn’t completely immersed in the world of mahi, she invests so much in; she loves to take time to explore her environment. “My partner and I enjoy going on walks to new places. We’re always exploring new parks and greenspaces. I love playing with my tortoiseshell cat Mahira and engaging in experiences that encourage growth. It’s important to me to contribute to spaces that build platforms for success; that’s why I continue to teach and play music too.”
Ka pai, Hannah!