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NPDC’s New Bridges Span The Path From School To Work

Three new bridges are helping Taranaki students cross from school to work in a growing training partnership of NPDC, WITT and the building industry.

The second Build a Bridge project is giving 22 students from six Taranaki secondary schools valuable job skills and the option of a future in construction when they leave school.

The training project has trebled in scope from the first Build a Bridge which saw eight students building one bridge last year.

The students are working on the bridges almost every Thursday over nine months, learning about design principles and how to handle the tools and materials.

“NPDC’s programme to replace aging footbridges is the perfect pathway to support much-needed training in the expanding infrastructure and construction sector, and we’ve seen an awesome growth in the number of young people seeking on-the-job skills and a solid grounding in health and safety,” said NPDC Group Manager Planning and Infrastructure Kevin Strongman.

“Everyone’s a winner through Build a Bridge. NPDC ensures high-quality work and longer-lasting bridges that save costs in the long run and the students are given a head-start on a rewarding career with sought-after skills. Together we’re building a Sustainable Lifestyle Capital.”

NZIHT School of Engineering, Energy and Infrastructure Programme Manager Jan Kivell said WITT (Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki) is excited to see the programme growing.

“While students work towards gaining Level 2 NCEA credits and practical skills using small tools and machinery, they are part of building structures that will be used by their communities for many years. The support for this programme from the Taranaki high schools has been great,” said Mrs Kivell.

Tokaia Bauro, 17, a student at New Plymouth Boys High School, said the project was “a good experience and a good way to learn”.

Two new bridges are being built for the Mangati Walkway in Bell Block and one for the Waimea Stream Reserve in New Plymouth.

The two Mangati bridges have already been removed and replaced with temporary scaffold bridges, while the Waimea bridge will remain in use until the new bridge is completed.

The bridges are expected to be finished around October.

FAST FACTS

  • Build a Bridge is a partnership of NPDC, NZIHT School of Engineering, Energy and Infrastructure, WITT, Downer, Revolution Civil Engineering, and Taranaki Futures.
  • Eight students took part in the first Build a Bridge project last year.
  • They built the new Camden Street footbridge over the Huatoki River.
     

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