Construction training programme expands to Manawatū


Following a successful pilot in Canterbury, the Infrastructure Skills Centre comes to Manawatū in November to give people the skills they need to start a successful career in infrastructure construction

The course begins on 1 November. The attendees are employed by a range of infrastructure companies from the start of the six-week course, and will begin their infrastructure careers with these companies on graduating.

Fulton Hogan is leading this project to bring infrastructure skills to Kiwis. Chief Executive Graeme Johnson said it was appropriate Manawatū should be the second location in New Zealand to be offered this training, given the significant amount of infrastructure activity in the province.

He said the goal was to give people the “work experience of a lifetime” as their first step in a career constructing New Zealand’s transport networks, water systems and other vital infrastructure such as energy and communications.

“We want them to gain something they cannot realistically achieve any other way – an across-the-board appreciation of the soft and hard skills required in building, operating and maintaining infrastructure,” Graeme said.

“The infrastructure sector is so diverse that people can work in this industry for decades without touching on all aspects. In just six weeks we will enable people to do just that – and have the work experience of a life-time in the process.”

The course will feature a total of 22 practical hands-on sessions, 32 theory-based class sessions and three site visits.

The modules are facilitated by a team of 26 Fulton Hogan employees and trainers, each of whom is either a workplace instructor or subject matter expert.

The skills covered range from ‘softer’ skills such as effective communication, environmental awareness and management, health and safety, budgeting, time management, nutrition, mental health awareness, through to ‘harder’ skills such as concrete pouring and finishing, reading and interpreting plans, applying asphalt, traffic control and use of power tools.

The Infrastructure Skills Centre concept is a partnership between Fulton Hogan, Ministry of Social Development, Civil Contractors New Zealand and the Construction Sector Accord.

The concept is still in its pilot phase, and the Manawatū pilot follows on from the first pilot programme in Canterbury, which saw 12 keen infrastructure construction recruits gain foundational infrastructure construction skills to set them up for successful careers ahead.

There will be subsequent pilots in Auckland and Wellington early next year.

Fulton Hogan NZ Chief Executive, Graeme Johnson:

“In our sector you can start from the coal face and develop a life-long career – you just need the right attitude, work ethic and to take the opportunities that are put in front of you.

“The opportunities presented by the Infrastructure Skills Centre are more than personal – they include making a sizeable contribution to the community. Infrastructure is the foundation of healthy, prosperous and safe communities, so involvement in infrastructure is a pretty noble cause.”

The Construction Accord’s Transformation Director, Dean Kimpton:

“There are strong linkages between the Accord’s goals and those of the Infrastructure Skills Centre. The Construction Sector Accord is all about partnership between industry and government to transform the sector, and it’s hard to think of a better example of that than this initiative.

“Industry is stepping up to train people, and government is stepping up to back this project. We look forward to seeing it succeed and grow.”

Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive, Peter Silcock:

“There are rapidly expanding work and careers opportunities in New Zealand’s infrastructure industry right now.  This means we need better systems to ensure people start out with the right skills and knowledge for a successful career constructing and maintaining the country’s essential water, transport, energy and internet networks.

“The Infrastructure Skills Centre pilot is a great initiative, based on an existing model operating in Melbourne, with the potential to significantly increase our ability to bring new people into the industry.”

Ministry of Social Development Director Industry Partnerships, Amanda Nicolle:

“It’s great to see opportunities opening up for job seekers to gain skills that are so needed in this sector, through the Infrastructure Skills Centre.

“This initial project reflects the value of the Construction Sector Accord and the impact it can have on moving New Zealand forward.”