Cadet scheme provides benefits for all involved

Bringing fresh ideas and energy in, to complement a stable and experienced workforce, is one of the many benefits the Northland Regional Council has gained through their involvement in the Council Cadetship Programme over the past 15 years.

The programme is funded by the Ministry of Social Development, who also subsidise the cadet’s wages over the 42-week period they spend at the council. Since 2004, 36 cadets have been placed with the regional council, with 15 securing further employment with council. Cory Lydford was one such cadet.

Cory joined the hydrology team in 2018 as a cadet and has now moved into a permanent role as a Junior Hydrology Officer - a role he loves.

Cory says he had very little knowledge of what councils did before joining the programme, however once he did a bit of research and got to know more about what the hydrology team did, he knew that was where he wanted to be placed.

“During the initial process, I was really focused on getting into the hydrology team and when I was successful I just wanted to learn everything I could and make myself indispensable. I was really lucky to be able to work with a range of people across the wider team, but one in particular - Rob Tasker, an experienced Hydrology Monitoring Officer - took me under his wing. Rob’s got such a lot of knowledge and I’m learning so much from him.”

Two men standing in front of a Northland Regional Council vehicle.Cory Lydford (left) and Rob Tasker make a great team.

Rob says he was only too happy to mentor Cory, “Right from the start I could see the potential in Cory. He was always keen to get stuck in and showed initiative. In a way he reminded me of myself when I started out as a cadet at the Ministry of Works almost 50 years ago. It’s really satisfying to be able to pass on the knowledge and skills I’ve gathered over the years to someone who wants to learn the trade.”

Cory says he spends most of his time at work outdoors. He can generally be found working by rivers and streams, often on private unknown spots scattered around Northland.

“I love being out in nature and I’m really lucky to have access to places many others don’t get to see. The work that we do in hydrology, monitoring water flows and volumes, is pretty important.”

The role of the Hydrology team is to gather data on how much water there is in Northland, by checking water flows in rivers and streams, monitoring rain gauges and groundwater bores - they even monitor some tidal gauges.

Much of this raw data is then turned into useful information that is available on the council website, with rainfall data being one of the most popular of all council information that is accessed by the public.

Cory says he feels fortunate to have found himself in this position and to be a part of a supportive team, “It’s more than just a job, it’s a career and I just want to continue to work hard and learn. I feel I have a really bright future ahead.”