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Secondary Students Connect To Infrastructure Careers

New Zealand’s female secondary school students are taking their place among New Zealand’s major civil infrastructure companies to try out different career opportunities as the industry looks to solve critical skills shortages.

Throughout May and June, female secondary school students from around the country will take part in industry experience days, onsite with companies in the civil infrastructure, electrical supply and water industries, and at some of the country’s major infrastructure projects, as part of Girls with Hi-Vis® (GWHV).

While there, they’ll get hands-on experience of the skills required by these employers and hear from women already working in these sectors.

GWHV is an annual event and a key initiative of infrastructure training provider, Connexis. The events aim to connect female school students with employers keen to attract more women into key trade and technical jobs providing the vital services that keep New Zealand running.

This year’s GWHV is set to be the biggest yet, with approximately 900 students from 97 schools expected to attend 46 GWHV events around the country.

While onsite the students will don their hi-vis gear to turn their hand to key tasks such as installing a water meter, working in confined spaces and heights training in a real-life pipe simulation, driving diggers and trucks, climbing power poles, cable jointing, and checking out some of New Zealand’s largest infrastructure assets and projects like windfarms, hydro power stations, highway construction and water treatment plants.

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Connexis Executive Director Kaarin Gaukrodger says as the country’s leading infrastructure training provider Connexis works hard to promote infrastructure careers as the industry competes with more well-known and traditional trades to attract newcomers. These events are specifically targeted to women as employers seek to increase diversity in their workforce to address critical skills shortages around the country.

“It is still far too rare that these types of roles are presented as really viable career options to young women. We find when they do learn more about the scale of infrastructure industries and the vast range of careers available, there is a huge level of interest from students getting ready to leave school.”

This year Connexis has also partnered with other training providers to extend the types of trades and industries available to experience through GWHV.

EarnLearn, provider of specialist trades training in areas such as electrical, plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying (PGD), and scaffolding; and BCITO, training provider to the building and construction sectors are also participating in GWHV events in 2024.

“There are a lot of different trades out there that recognise the potential in young women to help them address skills shortages, but also to address the need for greater diversity in different industries that are typically male-dominated,” Gaukrodger says.

“Women can approach work differently, see things differently, and communicate differently which can add huge value when it comes to building effective and successful work crews and innovative project teams.

“Beyond that, building a skilled workforce across all these sectors is vital to keeping New Zealand running, from keeping the power on and building new assets, to connecting the country via roads and telecommunications.”

For a full list of Girls with Hi-Vis® events, inspirational work stories and open day information visit



 Connexis (infrastructure) and EarnLearn (specialist trades) are national industry training providers and business divisions of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

Connexis and EarnLearn develop programmes, arrange training, undertake quality management for consistency and quality outcomes, provide industry promotion, support employers in growing capability and learners to obtain nationally-recognised micro-credentials and qualifications through apprenticeships and traineeships.

Connexis provides nationally recognised apprenticeships (NZQA) and microcredentials

for training in infrastructure industries of civil infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, and water. For further information: About Connexis

EarnLearn provides nationally recognised specialist trades apprenticeship training in trade careers of electrical, plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying (PGD), scaffolding, rigging, and crane operation. For further information: About EarnLearn

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