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Skills Shortage Being Addressed

Skills Shortage Being Addressed

Moves are being made to address the country’s growing shortage of skilled engineers by encouraging more people into training.

The Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) last night briefed Canterbury careers advisors about the opportunities for people to train in engineering and associated skills such as quantity surveying and architectural technology. Advisors were encouraged to consider these fields as an option for their students.

“It won’t be long until we are facing a serious shortage of skilled engineers. By proactively educating people about the opportunities in engineering and attracting more people to our courses we can prevent the potential skills shortage from happening,” says CPIT Head of School, School of Engineering Dirk Pons.

He spoke with careers advisors about how to identify students that may benefit from one of the CPIT’s engineering courses and the vocational outcomes they would achieve. Dr Pons also reminded the advisors that in today’s modern environment engineering is a clean technology-based industry.

One of the major infrastructure projects on the horizon is Meridian Energy’s Project Aqua. The proposed hydro-electricity scheme would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki valley, from an intake at Kurow to an outfall six kilometres from the coast. It would include a 60 kilometres canal and six power stations.

The project has a projected cost of $1.2 billion ($2002), half of it to be spent in New Zealand and around 1300 jobs nationally with the direct workforce estimated to peak at 860.

Meridian Energy Generation Director Ken Smales who spoke from an industry perspective to the careers advisors, said growth would only happen if there were skilled workers to deliver the engineering projects proposed for the future.

“New Zealand needs to grow and develop its infrastructure to ensure continued economic growth. Project Aqua is one example of how this could happen.

“It’s also an example of the significant employment opportunities that local people could take advantage of if they take this step in the right direction,” concluded Ken Smales.

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