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Otago PGF allocations highlight need to understand labour demand

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The future of work in Otago region is set to benefit from the Provincial Growth Fund allocations announced today. With approximately $10 billion worth of significant construction projects forecast in the Otago region over the next 15 years, including the new Dunedin Hospital, a Construction Workforce Modelling Project has been initiated to provide essential analysis of the labour demand required.

The project is being co-led by Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Dunedin City Council’s (DCC) Enterprise Dunedin. This will include input from other key regional stakeholders, namely Ngāi Tahu, Otago Chamber of Commerce, Otago Southland Employers Association, Waitaki District Council, Central Otago District Council, Clutha District Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council and industry.

Ministry for Social Development spokesperson, Emma Hamilton, says "Today’s central government Provincial Growth Fund announcements about funding support for construction-related projects, highlights the need for clear, wide-spread understanding about the skills and trades required by industry over the next 15 years.

"This project will result in a model setting out industry demand over that period so potential shortages, pressures and needs can be addressed ahead of time. The PGF investment could also help local people get ready for construction jobs that will allow the region to prosper through increasing employment rates and raising household incomes."

DCC Enterprise Dunedin Director, John Christie, says, "We are aware that there is a national demand for skilled workers due to a number of large-scale projects. The project will enable us to predict the numbers required across the Otago region, including Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago, Clutha, Dunedin and Waitaki Councils to successfully complete developments. The information will help industry prepare with confidence through investment in attracting, training or hiring skilled workers.

"We believe this will have tangible value for businesses and job seekers in Otago. From Dunedin city’s point of view, this project will provide necessary information about future housing and training education demand. The DCC is already closely working with the Southern Partnership Group in preparation for the new Dunedin Hospital build’s requirements."

The modelling project will tie in with separate work on a report being prepared by the Otago Chamber of Commerce about ways to support training and up-skilling of New Zealanders for construction and associated industries. The aim is to ensure as many local and regional residents can enter these industries as possible, possibly via the establishment of a skills and jobs training hub for the Southern region.

Otago Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Dougal McGowan says, "This project complements the work the chamber is already undertaking on local training pathways and labour supply to ensure the successful roll out of construction and infrastructure development throughout the region. It also improves the visibility of concurrent projects so that planners across the region can collaborate to best utilise the available workforce over time."

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