HomeNewsInfrastructure Academy - Education Partnership Bridging Lower Hutt's Infrastructure Skills Gap

Infrastructure Academy - Education Partnership Bridging Lower Hutt's Infrastructure Skills Gap

By UCOL on Thursday, 02 May 2024

Infrastructure Academy Course

With $3 billion in critical infrastructure projects planned for the Hutt Valley over the next decade, a partnership between UCOL, Fulton Hogan and Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce is training the future workforce.

Patrick McKibbin, CEO of Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, says the region is facing a significant infrastructure investment, but lacks the talent needed to carry it out.

"We've got billion dollar projects in the pipeline but we need people to do the work. Through this partnership, we've been able to train and connect youth with job opportunities, and provide them with the necessary qualifications they need to succeed. It's a game-changer for the industry."

Quinn McCarthy, Fulton Hogan's Health & Safety Quality Training and Environmental Divisional Manager, says the partnership started thanks to discussions on repurposing a redundant quarry in Wairarapa into a training ground.

"The Chamber of Commerce set up a meeting with us and UCOL. I jumped at the opportunity because no one else was offering this type of civil training to ākonga (students)."

Now in its second year, the partnership gives Year 11 and 12 ākonga a glimpse into future job opportunities. Danny Reilly, Executive Dean of Engineering & Applied Technologies at UCOL emphasises that the Certificate in Infrastructure Works (Level 2) is more than just handing them a shovel; it's about developing future leaders.

"We're guiding young people toward a fantastic career path. They get to see a wide range of industry jobs from operating machinery right through to administration and management - many of which they may not have considered before."

The partnership has since grown, with iwi-led organisation Rāranga now providing wider support for ākonga.

"At the end of last year, we found that our ākonga were quite green," adds McCarthy. "They didn't have IRD numbers or bank accounts set up. We wanted to help them but with limited resources, we turned to Rāranga for support. They've been amazing, providing young people with the support they need before entering the workplace."

McKibbin says the programme has been so successful, they're looking into ways to extend this model into other industries.

"We're hoping to run similar courses with UCOL in the future. For example to include water infrastructure, in response to the growing demand in that industry too. It's all about providing young people with options and helping them see where their skills can take them."

Find out more about the New Zealand Certificate in Infrastructure Works (Level 2) and UCOLs range of in-school study opportunities for students