30,000 new construction workers needed by 2019

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New Zealand’s construction industry will need another 30,000 workers over the next three years and industry body Civil Contractors New Zealand says its members are increasingly investing in skills training now to avoid a future labour shortage.

The latest MBIE employment growth forecast figures show that the construction industry will make up about 20 percent of the country’s 148,000 new jobs between 2016 and 2019. Construction is forecast to grow by 4.7 percent, twice the national job growth rate, with about 30,000 new jobs created by 2019.

Civil Contractors New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock, whose organisation represents 600 members in civil construction and general contracting businesses, says his industry has recognised the need to invest heavily in people and in training and is encouraging more diversity.

“There is no doubt that the face of our industry is changing, there is more technology, more innovation, more women are joining the industry
and more training is being offered.”

The industry is in a huge growth phase with major infrastructure projects underway and planned. These projects span government, residential and commercial projects and include roading, public transport, water supply and disposal systems, telecommunications and energy projects, Mr Silcock said.

“We need more skilled workers and the reality is that a lot of the training will need to be done on the job, which means that people can earn as they learn.

Our members are offering well-supported career paths for their workers and are increasingly putting staff training and retention, safety, career support and active recruitment at the top of their priority list.”

The industry introduced a Civil Trades Certification programme last year, the first apprecenticeship scheme for the civil construction industry, to recognise the skills and expertise both existing staff and future workers.

“Increasingly our people are very well qualified craftspeople and as an industry we need to get better at recognising and rewarding their skills and expertise. We also need to get the message out that our industry offers fantastic career paths with really exciting jobs on big projects.”

The growth phase is forecast to continue well beyond 2019 so it is very important we start to attract and train new workers now, Mr Silcock said.

For further comment contact Peter Silcock on:
DDI: 04 496 3273
M: 027 448 7036
peter@civilcontractors.co.nz

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