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WelTec Graduate Steps Up for Christchurch Rebuild

PRESS RELEASE – Thursday 26 September 2013

WelTec Graduate Steps Up for Christchurch Rebuild

Weltec graduate and employee, Hana Witeri (right),with Robin Mouat, Managing Director of M.L. Contracting.

Interview with Robin Mouat, Managing Director M.L Contracting based in Hornby Christchurch and new employee Hana Witeri.

Robin Mouat knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the rebuild of Christchurch.  “That’s a term which we hear over and over.  It sounds big and it is, but restoring Christchurch is tackled in small steps and we’re part of it.  You could say we’re at the sharp end of the rebuild – dealing with upset people who are highly stressed, their homes not the way they used to be.  All of this is very challenging in a work environment, but we’re up for it.  My staff are working hard on houses to get families back into them.  We’re flat out, really busy repairing hundreds of houses that have been damaged.” says Mouat. 

To help with the growing workload Mouat has looked North for new staff and taken on Hana Witeri (pictured), a WelTec painting and decorating graduate from Wellington.  Hana joined Robin’s workforce of 28 people two months ago and is working in and around Christchurch.  “Hana is vigilant and careful in her work.  She has a new vision for her life and there are many options and possibilities ahead of her.  80% of our current work is painting and the other wet trades (plastering, decorating, brick and blocklaying) are in high demand here.” 

Mouat says the job market in Christchurch is tight with very few suitable and qualified job seekers.  “I was approached by Arnold Lomax, WelTec’s job broker and his brother David to take on a graduate.  It is hard to get people with the basic skills of painting, particularly in Christchurch.  Looking further North for staff isn’t a problem and particularly when the person comes with Arnold’s recommendation and armed with WelTec’s pre-trade qualification.  The painting and decorating certificate is just the ticket required to work in Christchurch.  Hana is working out well.  WelTec needs to keep on producing more graduates like her.  We need them in Christchurch.

“People have realised they need skilled people who can do a professional job especially when it’s something as important as working on their home.  We do a very good job and we’re here in Christchurch for the long haul.  Our focus now is on residential property and it will be like that for the next couple of years.  Then we’ll move onto commercial property which will keep us busy for a decade or more.  We contract to the EQC, which has Fletcher EQR as its project manager. 

“When I need more staff I’ll be asking Arnold to get onto it for me.  For anyone in Wellington wanting to work in Christchurch I would say you need to sort out your accommodation and transport.  Having a vehicle to get around is important,” says Robin. 

Hana who is of Waikato and Te Arawa descent has been in Christchurch for two months, “I am thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity.  As soon as I graduated Arnold got me a job in Wellington, but this fantastic position came up with M.L. Contracting.”

For Hana it has been a tough road to where she is now.  “Early on I got caught up with the wrong crowd.  My support networks – family, WelTec and Arnold and my new employer Robin – have had a massive impact on my life.  I am slowly getting on my own two feet.  The impact of a solid trades education and a great job has been huge for me and my 14 year old daughter.  She thinks what I’m doing now will set us both up for the future.”


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