A new employment initiative to get local people into work on transport projects being built across the country has been announced today by Transport Minister, Michael Wood and Social Development and Employment Minister, Carmel Sepuloni.
“This new initiative is centred on projects that are part of our Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP), and offers the twin benefits of improving local employment outcomes while providing Kiwis with better and safer transport choices,” said Minister Wood on a visit to the construction site for the $655 million Takitimu North Link project.
“Local people will learn new skills to work on major infrastructure projects in communities across Aotearoa, which will create a larger pool of workers for the construction industry and help to address skills and labour shortages. Waka Kotahi is delivering 19 NZUP projects, and I know that discussions to identify employment opportunities on the Takitimu North Link project, which will connect Tauranga and Ōmokoroa with a new 14 kilometre four-lane corridor, will begin very soon.
“I’m pleased that Waka Kotahi and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have agreed on this partnership to boost targeted employment outcomes on NZUP projects. The two have already worked together on a successful pilot project on the Te Ahu a Turanga–Manawatu Tararua Highway project, which resulted in local people getting heavy vehicle licenses to be trained as digger operators and drivers. People were also helped into jobs as administrators, labourers, builders and workers on conservation projects,” he said.
Minister Sepuloni said the partnership between MSD and Waka Kotahi supported the government procurement directive to achieve broader cultural, economic, environmental and social outcomes for Aotearoa.
“This initiative will also ensure close engagement with mana whenua on employment opportunities, while supporting local businesses,” she said.
“MSD recognises that we are stronger when we work together. This partnership means people can be connected early to the right support and services they need from us to gain employment on the Takitimu North Link and a career.”
Waka Kotahi is also supporting the Government’s Broader Outcomes initiative, with a focus on growing local small and Maori owned businesses through its NZUP projects. For example, Takitimu North Link stage 1 has recently sub-contracted a small hapu-owned welding start-up business.