TROW Group – improving how the work gets done

Empowering and developing the talents of Māori and Pasifika communities is close to the heart of Te Riu O Waikato (TROW Group). The civil contracting, labour and machinery hire company specialises in infrastructure projects across the Auckland region.

When TROW employees recently undertook the training programme, Build Up, it involved the logistical feat of working on several Auckland infrastructure projects for sub-contractors, Hilton Civils Ltd and Solutions Contractors Ltd.

Tina Rose, Director of Education Unlimited - the training provider responsible for Build Up, says the training needed to be highly interactive and relevant. “Working with people who do a physical job all day for long hours means that the training needed to directly impact on their work and personal lives to make it worthwhile,” says Tina. “The participants showed their determination to get ahead by fully engaging in the Build Up programme.” 

TROW Group Programme Manager Joe Vagana says TROW Group’s vision is to upskill and develop people so they are, “better workers, better mothers and fathers who can support their families”. Speaking at the graduation ceremony to celebrate the success of Build Up, Joe said the programmes are good for workers’ CVs and moving them forward for their future. Build Up provided the opportunity for employees to become more efficient, productive and smart in their approach to work. 

Ngaz Edwards and his team from Hilton Civils Ltd, developed a Visual Management System (VMS). “This helped us with time management and planning,” says Ngaz “At the Monday tool box meeting, we read the plan for the week. We know and can organise where everybody and everything is and it’s easy to update. It also stops everyone coming and asking me questions all the time.” 

The system allows people to see what’s going on, says Ngaz, as it provides a written record of what’s happening and increases communication. “It’s been huge for the team.”

Duane Whare was responsible for ensuring the Site Traffic Management System was as efficient as possible, and all the gear for the job was in the right place at the right time. “We took a colour co-ordinated approach and matched the colour of the tools to the truck. We also made sure that at the end of the day everything was clean, tidied and packed away – the colour coding helped with this.” A Friday stock take was set up to ensure everything was checked off, including fuel, so trucks were all ready to go for the following week.

Employees from Solutions Contractors Ltd and the TROW Group examined how to better conduct and manage toolbox meetings. Using the CHATS acronym, they focused on the content of meetings and a positive approach work. The essentials are good Communication between employees and the boss, Health and Safety reminders, bringing the right, positive Attitude to work, and the importance of Team, “together everyone achieves more”. 

The challenge of getting these programmes to work across dispersed workplaces is not always easy. “The partnership between Education Unlimited and TROW Group has developed due to mutual respect for each other’s strengths,” says Education Unlimited’s Tina Rose. “There have been operational and logistical challenges along the way, but despite this, there is a shared vision and we all look forward to watching the participants grow and strengthen their skills.”

The impact of the work does not go unnoticed by the company. TROW Managing Director, Saia Latu, wrapped up the graduation ceremony by re-iterating the TROW vision to grow the skills of their Māori and Pasifika workforce. Saia acknowledged that the programme had taken some of the employees out of their comfort zones and, “Seeing everyone presenting touches my heart”.