The unprecedented recruitment push is aimed at filling thousands of jobs needed for the biggest infrastructure and housing build in New Zealand’s history.
The LookSee Build NZ campaign is run by a consortium of government organisations, local body entities and private companies (link opens in new tab). The aim of the campaign is to attract some of the more than 56,000 staff, including 2,200 high-end specialist construction positions, it is estimated New Zealand needs for the NZ$125bn (£65bn) programme of infrastructure works over the next decade.
Recruitment spokesman and construction consultant Aaron Muir said that his team is delighted at the level of professional interest in the recruitment offer, which includes a range of Kiwi ‘experiences’ such as fishing, surfing and canoeing, cultural events and the chance to see sites of natural beauty. If people do get a job as a result of LookSee Build NZ their airfares to New Zealand will be repaid, he says.
“New Zealand is open for business because we need and want the best the UK construction sector can offer,” says Muir. “We’ve got the support of the New Zealand government, which is introducing a special KiwiBuild fast track visa scheme, and we’re partnering with Immigration NZ to make the whole process as smooth and as seamless as possible.”
In addition to the pre-existing NZ$125bn of infrastructure works, new prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a NZ$2bn KiwiBuild housing programme for the construction of 10,000 homes a year for 10 years and a range of new infrastructure projects.
One of the companies hoping to find recruits through the campaign is New Zealand-based international consultant Aurecon. Regional director Carl Devereux said that the need for top talent is so acute it required an innovative approach to talent procurement. “The opportunity to be able to recruit in such a creative way by giving candidates the opportunity to come and experience the country for themselves is what attracted us to LookSee Build NZ,” he said. “Aurecon has a strong pipeline of work, including some of New Zealand’s largest infrastructure projects and hiring global talent ensures we have diversity of thought sitting around the table to solve the complex challenges the engineering industry faces today and into the future. Diversity means not only gender but also culture, qualifications and even age – we believe diversity of thought helps us to develop innovative solutions to the problems our communities face today.”
Auckland Transport chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds said that the recent downturn in British construction activity created an ideal employment environment in which to make a pitch to potential migrants to New Zealand.
He added that the free ‘Kiwi experiences’ that are on offer will give prospective migrants a taste of what to expect if they choose to live in New Zealand, but that the country 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, he said. “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 sector is facing a decades-long full pipeline.”