New upskilling training centre aims to fill almost 1000 jobs in New Zealand
A new trades training centre is being built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa in New Zealand to train the locals for jobs, made possible through funding from the government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF).
The objective is to upskill the local workforce to assist the region with economic fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Construction of the centre is just about to start and is expected to take about 15 months to complete, employing over 200 people in the process. Once it starts accepting students, approximately 740 students each year will benefit for training and job placement in skilled roles.
Newshub reported that the centre aims to train local youth to fill close to 1000 jobs in the region in New Zealand over the next five years, catering to key local sectors such as farming, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and logistics.
Concept plans in the early stages show that there will also be a digital entrepreneurial hub, a cafe, and childcare facilities to allow parents to train at the facility.
According to Scoop, the New Zealand Government will contribute $10.84 million from the $3 billion set aside in the CRRF for infrastructure projects, while the balance of funding for the $13.9m project will come from the South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT), Trust Waikato, and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology – who is the key training provider.
As Māori make up nearly a quarter of the South Waikato population and more than a third of Tokoroa’s, the centre will also have a focus on working with the Māori and Pasifika community.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said that South Waikato has above-average levels of social, education, and health deprivation, and there is a disproportionately high number of people not in education, employment or training.
While employment opportunities exist through the traders and industries such as in forestry, there are not enough skilled workers to fill these jobs in New Zealand.
“These employers are calling for more skilled workers and the facilities to train them. This new training centre will not only provide employers with the skilled workers they need, but it will give students a modern learning environment and the opportunity to upskill.
“This investment is part of our wider plan to keep New Zealanders working, training and help people find work, particularly in areas where there are skills shortages, including boosting funding to make training in targeted areas and apprenticeships free.”
According to Newshub, Francis Pauwels, SWIFT economic development manager said that the construction of the centre comes after a survey of South Waikato companies found around 850 new staff would be required in the region over the next five years.
Pauwels said, “These companies – in construction, engineering, transport, manufacturing, forestry and hospitality – say their number one preference is to employ locals because they stay local and contribute to the community,”
“About 60 percent of the people who could be employed in these jobs will be new trainees and especially young people. About a fifth of people aged 18-25 years in South Waikato are not in employment, education or training – and we are confident this initiative will be the catalyst to get these young people into training and employment. We also expect to have a lot of second-chance learners coming through the centre.”