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Highly Commended

One of the big messages 2020 has delivered is that unsung work is essential work, and it makes a big difference in our communities.

photo of citycare worker drilling wood

Citycare Ltd is a national infrastructure company focused on the core business of keeping communities running smoothly by providing water services, facilities maintenance, open spaces maintenance and civil construction across New Zealand.


This requires a committed workforce and Citycare has 1300 employees and 200 temporary workers in large cities and small provincial towns around the country.

Executive General Manager – People, Safety and Sustainability Leeanne Carson-Hughes says, “A key challenge for us is that some of our work is simply not that sexy, but it is essential. We clean toilets, mow parks, keep the water flowing and repair social housing. Never was our work more evident than during the Covid -19 lockdown when these services were recognised.”

“Suddenly communities appreciated and valued the previously unsung work our teams delivered. New Zealand needs this committed workforce to stay open and we need a diverse talent pipeline to ensure delivery.”

Citycare recognised it needed to expand its talent pool and pipeline by employing local people in the local communities where it operates, with a focus on attracting young people, Māori, Pasifika and women to join its workforce.

Tapping into the diversity of its communities is vital to building that pipeline and Citycare adopted a key strategy based around the concepts of:

  • Engage; initiating a structured programme of engagement with local community groups and partners that can help make that happen.
  • Educate; focusing on educating the future workforce of the importance of Citycare’s work via a partnership with Student Volunteer Army and on upskilling current staff through career pathways, literacy programmes and competency development.
  • Attract; supporting a range of initiatives and partnerships designed to attract people to the workplace.

photo of citycare worker in river

“While engage, educate and attract are the foundations of this workforce solution, it’s the strength of our partnerships that deliver the programme,” says Leeanne. “We couldn’t do this alone. It is a shared approach between our staff, our clients and our communities. Together we have identified, trialled and adopted multiple pathways, partnerships and initiatives.”

The multi-faceted strategy is driven at executive level and supported and implemented by local managers and HR teams. We Care is one of the organisation’s core values and is recognised in the strategy and its focus on people and communities.

“We care for our people, our communities and the environment. We apply not just a commercial approach, but also a social approach to our work. We love the idea of our workforce reflecting the communities that we work in. When people are working in their own community, they are more engaged and committed. It’s a two-way thing,” says Leeanne.

Judging convener Kirstin Te Wao says Citycare Ltd has taken a strategic approach to ensuring the sustainability of its workforce with its commitment to recruiting diverse talent from the communities it serves. While Citycare provides the skills and tools the team needs to undertake this essential work, we also acknowledge the positive impact this has on the whānau of their employees.

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