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Homegrown talent to support electricity sector growth – Northpower

Northpower’s cadetship programme continues to develop skills and capability to meet demand, as the sector ramps up investment in electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure capable of meeting the demands of electrification.

Another fourteen ‘trade cadets’ graduated in October, after completing an eight-week fully paid employment preparation course designed by Northpower in partnership with Te Pūkenga, at Northtec’s campus and delivered by local business Lines and Cables.

The cadets are now embarking on apprenticeships at Northpower locations across the North Island, taking up roles as apprentice Cable Jointers and Distribution Line Mechanics in Wellington, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Matamata, Tauranga and Auckland.

In this financial year Northpower will have welcomed 50 trade cadets into its workforce as apprentices, with plans underway for next year as the company prepares for significant growth. Trade Cadets from all around the North Island have been part of the programme, completing their studies here in Whangārei.

“We want the first few weeks of our cadets’ time with us to be centred on Northpower’s culture, and to create a practical and personal connection to the North. It’s our way of sharing our roots, and what we stand for with them,” says Chief Executive Andrew McLeod.

This latest cohort followed the winter 2023 cadetship intake of 13 cadets, who were all locals from Te Tai Tokerau.

“The cadetship programme encompasses Northpower’s culture, behaviours and work ethic while developing and nurturing the people and capability needed to meet the industry’s electrification and decarbonisation goals.” he says.

“Northpower’s passion for building depth of technical capability, including offering ‘in the field’ experience, reinforces the value of growing local skills to support the energy transition.”

Northpower has created more than 100 cadetships and apprenticeships in the past five years, an outcome Northpower Capability Manager Mackenzie Ashby is proud of.

“The most recent intake was a residential programme, and the cadets came to Whangārei from all over the country. This meant that the pastoral care elements including accommodation, meals, fitness and wellbeing while away from their homes was an important consideration,” says Mackenzie Ashby.

“To achieve this, we leaned into our community partners, friends and whānau and included a cultural connection in week one with a stay over at a local marae. The students have developed strong bonds and camaraderie with each other. We are focussed on recruiting through partnerships with our community, family, and friends, to build a future workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we support.

“It is great to see the diversity in the cohorts with students from Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Māori, and European descent.”

The next ‘friends and family’ cadetship will begin in February 2024, followed by a winter 2024 intake.

 

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