Government backs construction sector with new trades training centre

  • Hon Chris Hipkins
  • Hon Shane Jones
Education Infrastructure

Otago Polytechnic, a subsidiary of the NZ Institute of Skills and Technology, will get a new purpose-built centre in Dunedin devoted to training qualified workers for the building, construction and related trades, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced.

“The Government is investing $28 million by way of grant and loan through its tagged contingency for infrastructure towards the three-level building at the polytech’s Forth St campus. This project is expected to create up to 200 jobs during construction and put money into the pockets of local businesses, suppliers and workers.

“This shovel-ready project will also provide a specialist and fit-for-purpose centre of training excellence for the building and construction trades, areas which desperately need well-trained workers for our Government’s pipeline of infrastructure,” Shane Jones said.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the project is significant to the region and the wider construction industry.

“Otago Polytechnic is a major training provider for the construction trades -- both regionally and nationally – and will help the sector rebuild skills and recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down.

“It’s another significant addition by this government to growing our trades and vocational education. We’re making training free, supporting firms to take on and keep apprentices and simplifying the whole system to make it easier for learners and employers to use,” Chris Hipkins said.    

Otago Polytechnic is a subsidiary of NZIST – a nationwide network of polytechnics and institutes of training. Its existing building and construction trades programmes are delivered from leased buildings off site. They are old prefab-style buildings which requiring constant maintenance and now require re-roofing.

The new facility’s location on the main campus, which will incorporate ‘green build’ components, will greatly improve student access to services including student support.

The new building will:

  • Provide an integrated and collaborative skills training facility
  • Offer modern learning facilities that meet industry and more sophisticated student demands
  • Provide for growth in building  and construction trade student numbers and industry demand for existing and new programmes such as plumbing, drain-laying and gas-fitting
  • provide for increased capacity for programme delivery to meet a revamped vocational education system
  • meet additional needs such as the co-location of programmes and the changes to the facilities, infrastructure, services and technologies needed to support programme content and delivery, and the changing mix of trade programme provision.

The funding announced today is part of the $3 billion infrastructure package in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones on July 1. The fund is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion.

Note to editors:

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.