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New Zealand’s Booming Infrastructure Industry Opens Up Career Opportunities For Women

A student giving excavator driving a go under the watchful eye of Dave Connell, Managing Director of Connell Contactors, Hamilton, as part of their Girls with Hi-Vis® 2019 event.

To keep New Zealand moving roads need replacing, leaky water pipes upgrading, power lines maintaining and faster broadband technology installing – and the skills required to deliver the future face of infrastructure continues to grow.

Connexis Chief Executive Kaarin Gaukrodger says, “New Zealand’s infrastructure industry is booming with an estimated 44,000 additional workers needed over the next five years. This challenges us to look beyond the traditional workforce and increase diversity in our industries.”

An initiative by Connexis – the infrastructure Industry Training Organisation (ITO) – is addressing the workforce recruitment challenge throughout June by targeting women in particular with its annual Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV) campaign.

GWHV – supported by the Ministry of Education - gives female high school students the opportunity to visit an infrastructure company through their school, get hands-on experience and hear from inspirational women in the industry. It provides an understanding about what’s involved in the many and varied roles in infrastructure’s Civil, Energy, Telco and Water industries.

Kaarin says infrastructure companies are actively working to secure more females in traditionally male dominated roles. “This not only helps address the ongoing skills shortages but increases creativity and productivity within the workplace.”

More than 20 workplace open days will be held throughout the country during June from Auckland in the north to Twizel in the south. Participating companies include HEB Construction, Meridian, Contact Energy, Genesis and Downer with open days in Auckland, Waikato, the East Cape, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

“There are many opportunities available. Women can begin their career in infrastructure 'hands-on' out in the field and progress from there, or if they have suitable skills and experience they can start at management level straight away or gain onsite experience while progressing through their university training. The options and possibilities are endless,” Kaarin says.

The infrastructure industry is leading the way when it comes to employing women in what has traditionally been a male dominated sector, this year proudly reaching a target figure of 10% of women trainees in the industry. This has been a steady build on10 years ago when 3% of trainees were women.

The achievement of this milestone aligns with Connexis’s 10-year anniversary of Ultimit Women in Infrastructure, an ongoing drive to encourage, inspire and support women into trade and technical roles in infrastructure.

Up the pole they go! Christchurch Independent Lines Services CEO, Matt Southorn, supervising a student during a Climb the Powerline pole exercise, as part of their Girls with Hi-Vis®2019 event.

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