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Delegation To UK Job Expos Seeks To Plug Skill Gap

4 August 2005

Delegation To UK Job Expos Seeks To Plug Skill Gaps

From building consent managers to IT developers to environmental health officers, the Wellington region is looking to tap into the skills base of the United Kingdom.

In response to the skills shortages that continue to curb the growth of some businesses in the Wellington region, Positively Wellington Business (PWB) will lead a delegation of local employers to job fairs in London and Manchester to showcase work opportunities in this part of the world.

PWB, the region’s economic development agency, is inviting businesses to attend or be represented at the Opportunities New Zealand Expos in October, which are expected to attract a total of 13,000 UK residents and Kiwi expatriates.

“This is a great opportunity for our employers to meet high-calibre candidates who already have an interest in migrating here. Last year the delegation we led to the expo comprised 28 employers and recruitment providers and was larger than any other region’s. At times we had queues of up to 20 people wanting to talk to our employers,” says PWB’s Migrant and Expatriate Attraction programme manager Shawn Gilhooley.

“The results were very good – people attending the expo represent a broad range of professions, and many of our employers were able to hire someone as a result. Also, following on from last year’s expo we have a database with 800 potential candidates for jobs in the Wellington region,” says Mrs Gilhooley.

PWB’s Chief Executive Philip Lewin says, “we’re helping to find people for these jobs because our region currently lacks some necessary skills sets - PWB is working to stimulate economic growth by helping businesses to find the labour they need”.

In the March 2005 Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion by NZIER (the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research), 25 % of firms reported labour as the single biggest brake on their ability to increase turnover – the highest level recorded since mid-1974.

After picking up slightly through the middle of 2004, national annual net migration is running substantially below the average of the last ten years at 8,810 migrants pa for the year ended May 2005, compared with the long-term average of 13,200 migrants pa. (Source: Statistics New Zealand).

Over the next 20 years the working age population in Europe could decline by 65 million (Infometrics 2004).

“As the developed world’s working population ages, we are likely to see fierce international competition for skilled workers. In light of this, it’s important that both the Wellington region and New Zealand are out there marketing our attractions and advantages,” says Mr Lewin.

PWB is trying to make attendance and representation at the expos affordable to all employers experiencing skills shortages. Businesses interested in finding out more should contact Shawn Gilhooley, phone: 04 – 4942556 or email shawn@positivelywellingtonbusiness.co.nz .

ENDS

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