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New Infrastructure Training Programme for Road Construction Boom

September 21, 2018

EIT plans courses for road construction industry.

A move by EIT to train roading construction workers is being welcomed by local contractors in the face of the massive increase in regional road funding announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this month.

“We are going to need a lot more people,” said Downers Gisborne branch manager Derek Walker.

“The industry is already struggling to attract people and the average age is quite high,” he said.

The programme being offered by EIT would help get younger people interested and would hopefully help ‘fast-track them into their careers”.

“The announcement of an extra $137 million for roading is great news for the region, but it will take us all a while to ramp up to meet that increase.

“Getting the right people in is not easy because we are competing with forestry. We definitely needed a strategy,” he said.

Having localised training was definitely a step in the right direction.

EIT will offer the New Zealand Certificate in Infrastructure Works from next April, head of school, trades and technology Todd Rogers confirmed yesterday.

The programme is a first for EIT. Planning has been underway for some time to meet NZQA and Tertiary Education Commission approval.

Local contractors have given the proposal 100 percent support, indicating that they will welcome localised training aimed at ensuring new recruits will hit the ground running.

The programme will be open to new entrants and existing workers, with at least one company already planning to enrol all its unqualified staff next year.

There will be both a 16 week full-time course and part-time study options. The part-time option is designed to cater to those already working in the industry, with evening classes and block courses over a period to meet the industry’s needs. 

Contractors are keen to have graduates who have all the key license endorsements , experience in using specialised equipment and a sound understanding of the health and safety requirements and industry practices. 

The Level 3 programme will cover all these areas with EIT supplying all the necessary equipment, either purchased or leased. Students will also be taught traffic management.

The part-time option will include some on-the-job training with work experience for those studying full time.

The programme has the support of the Industry Training Organisation, Connexis.

 “It will give those already in the industry the opportunity to work towards a New Zealand Certificate. Newcomers to the industry will gain experience with all related hand-operated equipment and machinery but also  fork lifts, wheels, tracks, rollers on an infrastructure site,” said assistant head of trades Tim Jagusch.

Successful students would come out with F, R, T and W endorsements on their licences as well as traffic controllers and dangerous good licences.

“With the increase of work available, this will be a great career choice for those who are prepared to study and we have a great network of support people to help them do that,” said Mr Jagusch.

Currently there are 980 people employed in the roading industry in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. This is expected to grow to over 1200 over the next two years. Over half the existing workforce is aged over 45.

The $137 million boost announced by the Prime Minister comes on top of the regions’s annual roading budget.