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Apprenticeship Commitment For New Whangārei Civic Building

A minimum of 10% local apprentices and trainees will join the workforce constructing Whangarei District’s new civic building, says Whangarei District Council Chief Executive Rob Forlong.

Forlong said that lead contractor Canam and tertiary education provider NorthTec have worked hard to develop a partnership that will benefit our local apprentices, providing genuine opportunities for local employment.

“We are committed to having a minimum of 10% of the workforce as local apprentices and trainees. That means we will have 1 apprentice or trainee in every 10 workers onsite, and if they do not already have apprentices in their workforce, they will be encouraged to speak with NorthTec to partner with a suitable candidate.”

Whangarei District Council first began looking at options for a new civic building in 2006, when it became clear the existing premises were not fit for purpose and a move was made to rent additional office space. A combination of district growth, organisational expansion, expenses incurred with rent and cost to develop existing offices made the need for a new civic building unavoidable.

Alan Adcock, General Manager for Corporate and Project Sponsor for the Civic Centre Project, explains that the decision to proceed with new premises came after extensive research into all possible options.

“Whangarei District Council currently leases a large office building, at a cost of more than $1M per year. The remainder of its employees, including Customer Services, operate from a separate location. We investigated the cost of expanding our Forum North premises, however structural and EQC requirements pushed the price out to well over $30M, and the building still wouldn’t have been large enough to house the entire Council.”

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Adcock explains that the decision was made to use land already purchased by Whangarei District Council at the site of the RSA building in Rust Ave, to construct a building to house all of Council as well as the Northland Transportation Alliance.

“The new civic building will focus on sustainability, with a margin for future growth ensuring it will be fit for purpose now and into the future.”

Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai couldn’t be happier with the decision to include a 10% apprenticeship programme in the civic building process.

“This initiative ties in beautifully with central Government funding of apprenticeships, and will provide a wonderful opportunity for our local apprentices. This is the first civic building of this scope to be constructed in Northland – it’s a chance for local apprentices to get hands-on experience, and will set them up well for future employment.”

“We are proud to be investing in a partnership that provides such strong opportunities for the people of our District.”

Wayne Jackson, Acting Chief Executive of NorthTec agrees with Mayor Mai.

“For our apprentices in Whangārei District, this is an unbelievable opportunity. We’re all very excited to be working alongside Canam and Whangarei District Council. These partnerships will strengthen pathways into employment, develop a strong skill base in Northland, and create a culture of collaboration between local trades and Tai Tokerau Skills Centre Plus - Te Rua o Pūkenga.”

Initial work on the Whangārei civic building is scheduled to begin in September, with completion expected by mid-2022.

For more information on the Whangārei Civic Centre Project, visit

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