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Focus On Economic Growth And Wellbeing

With kick-starting work on major new Infrastructure projects around the country a priority for the Government, the industry will welcome the move to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, when it occurs.

Connexis Chief Executive Toby Beaglehole says, “We’re optimistic about the move to Alert Level 3 and the opening of ‘safe’ businesses. We’re also heartened by the possibilty of significant new investment in infrastructure both for the good of New Zealanders and the country. There are two essential elements that can make this a real and lasting change: an unswerving focus on both wellbeing and growth.”

Connexis supports training for the Infrastructure Industry, and Toby says that while it’s vital to stay safe as the country rolls out major projects, it’s also vital that the roll-out encompasses personal wellbeing and longer-term growth.

“COVID-19 has changed the workplace landscape, and it brings unique challenges. The Connexis field team have spoken to over 90% of our trainees since the move to Level 4 isolation and it’s clear that everyone is facing new stresses and every person’s experience of the impacts of lockdown is different. These all need to be taken into consideration for their return to work.

“We believe that industry needs to embrace not only excellent COVID-safe practices, but also the empathy and compassion we’ve recently seen in our communities. Great safety outcomes and great infrastructure outcomes will be dependent on individual wellbeing, state of mind, and personal circumstances. People will need to cope with the new ways of working with COVID-19 as well as the best practice health and safety required daily onsite.”

As part of the vocational education sector, Connexis also sees industry training as integral in supporting the workforce changes that COVID-19 has brought to New Zealand. “It’s a chance to upskill our people and utilise skills across industries. With border closures restricting the supply of overseas workers who represent 6.5% of the construction workforce, the need to build a local workforce with the required skills in a timely manner is essential,” Toby says.

In the midst of these current challenges we, as an educational institution, see the industry requiring continued support from us. The Government’s Reform of Vocational Education (ROVE) continues with the aim of creating a unified, regionally accessible vocational education system. With the challenges and changes faced by the infrastructure industry, we all need to ensure our people are put first and the rate of change is focused on helping their wellbeing,” Toby says.

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