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Sun November 17 2019

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UK professionals wanted for $4.4bn New Zealand rail tunnel

21 Aug Downer New Zealand is seeking to recruit people with experience on UK projects such as Crossrail to work on the NZ$4.4bn (£2.3bn) City Rail Link (CRL) in Auckland.

It wants to bring in UK professionals to help lead construction of New Zealand’s first underground urban rail tunnel and other major infrastructure works planned for the next decade.

Downer is part of the Link Alliance building the City Rail Link, which includes two 3.4km-long tunnels through the city.

Downer’s executive general manager for infrastructure projects, John Burden, said that City Rail Link is New Zealand’s biggest infrastructure project and will require specialist expertise. UK professionals who have experience working on the Crossrail, for instance, will be of significant value, he added.

Downer is hosting ‘Secure your future in New Zealand’ recruitment events during October in London and Manchester to fill a broad range of specialist roles across the country. Among the positions sought to be filled are project managers, commercial managers, quantity surveyors, superintendents, supervisors and range of engineering roles. 

New Zealand has had a massive building boom during the past 15 years, with no sign of abatement, said Burden. “What has changed is the allocation away from roads and highways and more towards making cities more amenable, better places to live,” he said.

Burden said that construction professionals will bring a lot of benefits to not only Downer but to the New Zealand construction sector. “They will bring their expertise, all their experience from working in a much larger market, some of it in specialist areas where New Zealand does not have a lot of experience in,” he says. “We want to bring some top construction talent down under to Aotearoa.”

Despite a skills shortage in the UK construction sector, Burden believes there will be sufficient interest from professionals. Interested applicants do not have to be UK nationals to apply.

In his experience, many UK professionals who choose to migrate are a great fit for New Zealand. Those who do make the choice tend to be people who have already thought of moving to New Zealand but Burden also said it’s important for applicants to understand “ours is a truly multicultural society, with more than 170 languages spoken in Auckland alone, and we embrace diversity”.

“New Zealand has a relaxed culture and a unique lifestyle,” he added, “where one can live in the middle of the city CBD and within an hour be at a beach, out on the harbour or enjoying a bush walk with birdsong and no sound of traffic.”

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