Peter Silcock, Chief Executive, Civil Contractors New Zealand
I attended a Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment workshop yesterday to provide contractor input into the draft strategy on Government Procurement, and the Ministry’s draft Construction Skills Action Plan.
It was great to see procurement at the centre of this new Government plan – and it shows a growing understanding at the highest levels that lowest cost procurement has been a big part of the skills shortages we are currently facing in our infrastructure and construction industries.
For a long time, CCNZ has called for skills and training to become a requirement across Government procurement policy. This should be one of the key strategies to address the shortage of workers and skills in the construction industry, and it very is promising to hear recognition of this in key Government strategies.
We are now looking forward to a future where companies are rewarded for investing in people, and every project includes provision for both head contractors and sub-contractors to train and develop their people.
We still need to work through the details, but this is about investing in our future. As a long-term asset owner, it is critical for Government to ensure enough Kiwis with the right skills to build and maintain our infrastructure are available in the future, from a commercial and a social point of view.
The action plan also recognises that greater certainty of work will create a more sustainable industry and give contractors the confidence to employ and train more people, and it will look to expand on current skills development programmes.
Clients often ask CCNZ if the industry has the capacity and capability the wave of infrastructure work over the next 5-10 years. Our simple answer is, if there is visibility of a consistent work programme and a fair allocation of risk and reward then the industry will build the capacity and capability required.
For further information on the Construction Skills Action Plan, see the following media release from Minister of Building and Construction Hon. Jenny Salesa: