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Care in the Community

CC Group NZ is certainly deserving of its “business incubator” moniker, comprising 11 entities directly employing more than 250 Kiwis, partnering with more than 800 franchises, and serving more than 25,000 customers nationwide.

Its latest inspirational concept, CC Workforce, is the brainchild of Elly Stone, and serves as the social arm of the business to give a leg-up to those in the community who are most in need. 

Founded by CEO David Serville more than 30 years ago, CC Group operates three market-leading franchise gardening and cleaning brands alongside facilities management services and a training academy that runs courses via NZQA training programmes and programmes developed in-house. Behind the scenes sits some impressive talent with the likes of businessman and director Noel Davies on a board that’s chaired by Simon Bridges. 

“We’re all about giving people opportunities and enriching lives,” says David. “Through training and/or small business franchising we can help them change their family’s economy.”

The CEO adds that franchise systems have around an 80% success rate versus an 80% fail rate for businesses that go it alone. 

“I’ve worked with many people in my life, many business owners who are solely motivated by money,” says Elly Stone, CC Group client relationship manager and general manager of CC Workforce. “Of course, David is running a business also, but he’s not constantly counting dollars. He’s a social entrepreneur as well as a business one.”

So, when Elly approached David with her idea for a community-focused training, housing, and employment scheme, it was a no-brainer – and CC Workforce was born. 

It’s not just about second chances, it’s about providing opportunities for those  who thought they might not have had a chance to begin with.

Working in close partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, the Department of Corrections, and Te Pā (previously known as PARS Incorporated), CC Workforce provides training, support, and skilled labour for the construction and service industries.

“We’re providing jobs for former prisoners and 501 deportees, male and female,” says Elly. “We’re supporting them in opening bank accounts and finding accommodation. We want to ensure that these people get a second chance, that they have the ability to earn so they don’t fall back into crime again.”

It’s not just about second chances, it’s about providing opportunities for those who thought they might not have had a chance to begin with, like single parents and new immigrants, by facilitating franchise ownership.

“We are also in the process of establishing a call centre operated by people with disabilities who want to go to work but are stuck at home,” says Elly. “It will provide them with the opportunity to work from home.

“As for refugees, it’s very difficult to for them when they arrive here because of the different language and culture. So, we offer training and support to them too – including visa and residency applications – with the possibility of becoming a franchise owner.”

With overseas students only allowed to work 20 hours a week, CC Workforce will find them part-time employment for the duration of their studies, and line up job interviews once they’re done, while helping with their residency applications too.

“I’m always thinking about what more we can do,” says Elly. “I’m currently looking into community housing for people just released from prison. Having a permanent address helps with employment prospects. Our work with Corrections is a massive part of what we do.”

Less than two years into the project, and Elly says that “most of the community-based organisations in Auckland already know us and what we do”.

“We are making changes to people’s lives inside and outside New Zealand,” she continues. “We are making changes for refugees, for international students. We are bringing in international labourers because we don’t have enough of them at the moment in New Zealand. Through CC Workforce’s community-based jobs and social activities, we aim to change the lives of every New Zealand citizen.”

Education, housing, and employment. It’s the full package.

“Having a criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily make someone a bad person,” Elly adds. “Everyone makes mistakes. We’ve all done things we shouldn’t have, but most don’t get caught.There are just so many people out there that haven’t had much luck and need a second chance. If we can change their lives, then it can have a ripple effect through our communities in a positive way.”