Water New Zealand welcomes funding boost for trades and training

Water New Zealand welcomes funding boost for trades and training

14 May 2014

Water New Zealand says it hopes that the $1.6 billion allocated in today’s budget to boost trades and training will help address the severe skills shortage in the water sector.

Acting CEO John Mackie says there has been a lack of training and skills development opportunities for a number of years now and this has led to a shortage of well trained, skilled water professionals and operators.

He says it isvitally important that we have a skilled workforce to ensure that all our utilities supply safe drinking water to their communities and this will certainly become a requirement when the new drinking water regulator, Taumata Arowai, is launched.

“The water sector is desperately short of skills and that’s why our organisation has been working with training providers, such as Connexis, as well as with the Water Industry Operators Group to develop a new professional skills and registration programme for water and wastewater operators.

He says that training will also be important if the new $1.1 billion Environmental Jobs package is to succeed.

“While the restoring wetlands, stabilising riverbanks and removing sediment is extremely valuable work for environment and will provide job opportunities for many, it is important that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

“Many of us will recall the Project Employment Programmes (PEP Schemes) of the 1980s, that were subject to abuse, delivered low quality products and did not leave participants with sustainable skill sets.”

Water New Zealand is keen to be part of the solution in providing new training opportunities in this recovery environment.