Building a skilled industry

By Peter Silcock, Chief Executive, Civil Contractors New Zealand

Historically there has been little formal recognition of the skills and competencies a whole range of people in our industry have. This is an issue we set out to tackle when CCNZ introduced the Civil Trades certification system in 2015.

We’re at the starting point for the future of our infrastructure workforce. And for some of us it’s the realisation of a few years of hard work. Civil apprenticeships are coming along in leaps and bounds, with over 300 people now certified and a new range of apprenticeships for Bitumen Surfacing Construction, Civil, Forestry Earthworks, Pipeline Construction and Maintenance and Structural Works unveiled by Connexis ITO.

As an industry we need to get behind skills development. We’re starting to see some support from Government around this in its new Construction Skills Action Plan. While the details are still being clarified, it’s clear our calls for skills development to be built into the procurement process have been heard.

We know change is coming. We called for it, and our government clients in particular have recognised the need. This is a positive step in the right direction, and we now need to think as an industry about developing even better skills in our workforce. Those that do are sure to reap the rewards of more satisfied staff who have the skills we need to get the job done.

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