NZ Young Guns: Alana’s inspiration comes from very close to her heart

Alana Tyrell doesn’t have to look far to find inspiration.

The HR/Project Manager at Alignz Recruitment Waikato has followed her Samoan parents into the family-owned business and says their passion for helping Pasifika people is at the core of what she sets out to achieve every day.

Pasifika refers to people of the Pacific islands and Alana’s mum Meta and dad Lesa launched Alignz Recruitment in 2000, with a plan to help them find meaningful employment, uplift the standard of living and create better lifestyles and opportunities for them and their families.

Their approach is holistic and focuses on building trust and relationships with candidates and clients, upskilling and training candidates to the next level to secure employment opportunities, coaching and mentoring, helping people get certified, providing career advice, building confidence and preparing people for meaningful employment.

“My parents didn’t have anything themselves – no degrees, just life experiences – but they wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Alana says. “It’s something they have instilled in us – that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. Set goals in place, commit to them, and work hard to make these goals come true.

“We see so many Pasifika people who have so much potential but are focused on the short term; getting any job now and making money.

“And that’s okay. However many don’t believe they are capable of certain roles due to their surroundings or circumstances; or because they haven’t seen many Pasifika role models in higher positions so they don’t aspire to be more. It’s those people I want to help because they have so much potential. They just need to be shown how to get there.”

Alignz Recruitment began operating in the horticulture sector before slowly moving into the trades, industrial and commercial fields.

Alana achieved a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Business Management majoring in Strategic Management before joining the family business. She worked part-time in recruitment while finishing her studies and has been full-time for five years.

Her two younger sisters have also joined the firm - one as team leader in Hamilton and another as senior recruitment consultant in Auckland. Recently, her older sister has returned from overseas where she worked in corporate recruitment both in Australia and the UK for the pass 10 years, learning key skills and experiences to contribute to Alignz as the National growth and partnership manager 2020.

Alana has put processes and procedures in place to work effectively and efficiently in placing Pasifika people in meaningful employment or further training. Focusing on ‘smart, simple and easy to use’ processes.

That is only one area of Alignz Recruitment’s business and there have been many other projects which Alana has worked on and been successful. Including establishing the Alignz Training and Alignz Immigration arm of the company to support and work in collaboration with Alignz Recruitment. The business has grown due to her being innovative, her commitment and hard work.

But Alana says being a member of the family hasn’t guaranteed her or her sisters a free ride.

During the company’s early days, when its focus was horticulture, she spent time picking berries, working in packing sheds on the conveyor belt or driving forklifts, so she had an understanding of the industry.

“Our parents wanted us in the roles, so we had a real appreciation of them,” she says. “It helped us really understand how operations ran in the industries we were recruiting for.

“I think that understanding, and the knowledge that our parents started with nothing and worked hard to achieve what they have, is what inspires me everyday.

“A lot of Pasifika people have low to medium-end jobs and the challenge is to change their mindset so they realise they can achieve and are capable of so much more.

“The training is available to enable them to understand where they’re at, where they want to be, and how we can help develop them. Levelling them up to secure their next opportunity.

“When I first began in recruitment I didn’t fully understand what it was about. I thought it was just matching people with jobs or finding the staff employers wanted.

“But it is so much more than that. We change peoples’ lives and help them change how they see themselves. We [Recruitment] are in a unique position to connect people to businesses and businesses to other businesses to help with their professional or company needs.

“Pasifika people aren’t just good sports players or good singers. They can do much more if they put their minds to it, surround themselves with the right people and overcome the mental and environmental barriers around them.

“I’ve met so many Pasifika people who have been in jobs for a long time and are really good at them and have so much experience but have never considered stepping up into management roles. We work with those candidates to level them up to attain the next step in their career.

“So, that’s what we do. We help people understand that they can do so much and show them how to do it.

“To be able to create opportunities for Pasifika people and mainstream; and help them take the steps to make the most of those opportunities is a very big and powerful thing.”

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