2 In A Ute: From unemployed to motivated and mobile

Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters Department set out to deliver social impact alongside environmental good by creating job opportunities for the long-term unemployed.

How Height helped

Auckland Council has been increasingly investing in more environmentally sensitive stormwater management such as native planting, swales and rain gardens - rather than just concrete pipes. New assets meant new maintenance requirements–and job opportunities for those willing to do the work. Council also understood that to truly support the long-term unemployed it’s not enough to simply offer an opportunity - to be successful people need to develop skills, learn about business, be mentored and stay motivated.

Height worked with Council to develop a structured model to deliver against its social objectives and maintenance requirements. Employing the Sustainable Outcomes Toolkit co-developed by Height and Healthy Waters, we created the “2 In A Ute” programme. This sees a mentor and a mentee work together as a mobile unit to look after an area of local infrastructure.


Under this scheme, Council recruited workers locally so they were connected to the area they were responsible for maintaining. 

These mentees were also required to cease their benefit and take up work, with their mentor giving guidance and direction. Funding from the Ministry of Social Development has helped keep the mentees in work. Mentee training, mentor support and overall supervision of the scheme from City Care means both mentors and mentees now have the skills needed to manage their own maintenance businesses. 


  • Transitions the long-term unemployed into sustainable employment.
  • Maintains environmentally friendly stormwater infrastructure.
  • Achieves community connection and cohesion.

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