10,000 workers needed in Otago over decade: study

Part of the former Wilson Parking building is being demolished to make way for Dunedin’s new...
Part of the former Wilson Parking building is being demolished to make way for Dunedin’s new hospital development. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Otago’s construction industry could need about 10,000 workers over the next 10 years.

A feasibility study carried out by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Dunedin City Council and Aukaha found more than 120 earmarked construction projects needed 1000 workers a year over the next decade.

It said that requirement could double with about 1000 workers required on site at the height of the new Dunedin Hospital build.

‘‘This is a first of its kind study that sought to understand the volume and value of future construction projects across Otago, the expected labour requirements and the current and estimated regional labour supply,” said MSD Regional Commissioner Jason Tibble.

The report recommends to establish and maintain a regional group focusing on construction workforce needs, building on connections made during the report to include anyone interested in the sector’s workforce and to identify projects that will help with meeting worker demands.

A new skills and jobs hub has now been established in Dunedin called Workforce Central that will focus on supporting training towards the Dunedin Hospital build as well as other projects throughout Otago.

Dunedin mayor Aaron Hawkins said it was heartening to know close to $10 billion in projects was planned for Otago over the next 15 years.

Of that, $3.3 billion was going towards Dunedin.

‘‘The impact will reach across the community, in new skills and trades for our residents, a thriving vocational training sector, steady employment and the associated economic benefits all of this will bring,’’ he said.

A workforce forecasting tool updating construction sector date every month has also been created to have a more up-to-date perspective on the industry’s job market.

Funding for the study was provided by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) through the Provincial Growth Fund.

The authors of the study said anyone interested in working in the construction industry should contact MSD, which can support people into apprenticeships and other training programmes.

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