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Meridian Addresses Skills Shortage Issue

Media Release
3rd July, 2003

Meridian Addresses Skills Shortage Issue

The large number of job opportunities that the proposed Project Aqua hydro-electricity scheme could bring to local workers has been outlined today, at a forum aimed at preparing the Waitaki district for growth.

The day-long skills requirement forum was organised by the Waitaki Development Board and addressed the issues posed by the major projects that have been proposed for the district. The forum included discussions on the proposed Project Aqua hydro-electricity scheme, which would see a 60-kilometre canal with six power stations being built down the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley.

Project Aqua Engineering Manager Tony McCormick told the forum that Meridian Energy anticipated that at least a 700-strong workforce would be needed for the project, should it proceed.

“We will need a wide variety of people with a wide variety of skill levels, from civil engineers to field supervisors to unskilled workers. The project would provide a very large number of jobs, and a significant part of the civil workforce could come from the local area,” says Tony McCormick.

Tony McCormick told the forum training programmes would need to be developed to train workers for semi-skilled disciplines and core project skills.

“Meridian Energy is very conscious of the training organisations within the tertiary sector and the industry training organisations. We would like to work in partnership with them, so the training programmes offered are relevant to the various skills the Project Aqua workforce would need,” says Tony McCormick.

If Project Aqua receives the necessary consents, work is likely to start in 2005.

“Although that seems like a long way away, we need to start workforce planning now. I congratulate the Waitaki Development Board on having the foresight to start planning for the area’s potential growth issues now,” says Tony McCormick.

Meridian Energy will be forming a delivery Alliance through which Project Aqua will be designed and constructed, if it proceeds. Meridian Energy and its Alliance partners will work together to manage the project’s workforce needs.

ENDS

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