Planning for 21st century construction skills

The Government has today showcased its plan to improve the construction industry’s ability to deliver skilled jobs, careers, and build more houses, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa.

“The Construction Skills Action Plan addresses skills and labour shortages in the construction industry. We are taking this issue very seriously, with multiple Ministers working together, with input from industry.

“Together we will ensure the construction sector can deliver the right people at the right time with the right skills to meet our construction needs.

“In June and July this year, more than 140 individuals and representatives of organisations attended workshops to test the practicality and implementation of the Action Plan initiatives. Attendees told us what they thought was missing and what else Government and the sector could do together to address workforce issues.

“This is the first time we have had such a coordinated, collaborative and forward-looking approach to construction skills.

“The Action Plan has six initial priority areas. They are:

  • Leveraging government procurement
  • Establishing additional jobs and skills hubs
  • Growing construction careers and credentials
  • Expanding skills for industry
  • Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work
  • Further changes to immigration settings.

“This is an important first step in delivering the construction skills we need for the 21st century.”

The Action Plan was announced at a Housing New Zealand site in Otara by Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development David Parker, and Minister of Employment Willie Jackson.

“The construction sector is very important to the economic wellbeing of New Zealand and its people. It is one of our largest employers with nearly 10 per cent of the workforce engaged in construction-related occupations,” said Jenny Salesa.

“The Action Plan also feeds into the much broader Coalition Government plan to build a productive and sustainable economy that makes sure all New Zealanders share in the rewards of economic growth. 

“The construction sector is rapidly evolving – even five years ago few people would have appreciated the impacts of innovation and technology, and so creating a plan that moves with, and reflects these changes, is vital.
 
“This Housing New Zealand redevelopment at Clayton Avenue in Otara utilises prefabricated building technology, as well as cross-laminated timber provided by Nelson-based company XLam. Accurate off-site manufacture means on-site construction is very rapid, and this type of innovation will reshape the skills we need.

“We know that building a sustainable construction workforce for New Zealand will take a sustained effort over time. Good outcomes will be underscored by partnerships and buy-in as the construction sector evolves.

“Further announcements in each of the areas will be made in the coming months. In the longer term additional priority areas may be added,” said Jenny Salesa.