Government organisations, local entities and private companies are launching a campaign LookSee Build NZ this week. The aim is to attract some of the more than 56,000 staff, including 2,200 in senior roles, it is estimated New Zealand needs for a NZ$125bn programme of infrastructure works over the next decade. The country is simultaneously embarking on the biggest housing build ever attempted, with 100,000 new homes slated for construction over the next three years and more promised in the coming decade.
It is the first time New Zealand’s public and private construction sector have combined in a single cause. Downer NZ general manager network maintenance and civil construction Craig West said: “Our construction sector is very competitive and this kind of inter-industry cooperation has never happened before but the need for staff requires us to take an all-of-industry approach. We’ve united to solve a big problem for all of us and we’ve come to the UK because that is where some of the best global construction talent is.”
Auckland Transport chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds said that the team had conducted qualitative research into the UK construction industry that showed the vast majority of respondents are interested in job opportunities in New Zealand. “More than 82% were prepared to pay their own travel and more than half were prepared to migrate within three months,” he said.
If people do get a job as a result of LookSee Build NZ their airfares to New Zealand will be repaid, he said.
LookSee Build NZ is also offering a range of ‘quintessential Kiwi experiences’ as a means to entice construction professionals to the country, said construction management consultant Aaron Muir. “There’s a whole range of experiences we’re offering as part of the deal – fishing, surfing and canoeing, cultural events, the chance to see stunning sites of natural beauty – that will give prospective migrants a taste of what to expect if they choose to live in New Zealand,” he says.
Edmonds said that New Zealand offers more than just lifestyle – the projects approved for construction are world-class, complex infrastructure builds that will appeal to ambitious skilled staff who want to further their careers.
“The Christchurch rebuild is actually still ongoing, then there’s the America’s Cup and the massive development plans for Auckland’s waterfront, while a whole suite of ongoing transport initiatives mean our construction is facing a decades-long full pipeline,” Edmonds says.
In particular, LookSee Build NZ is seeking project manager and supervisors, civil and traffic engineers, road and tunnel engineers, commercial managers and quantity surveyors, design managers and surveyors, structural engineers and draughts people among a wide range of specialist construction roles.