$250K boost for Otago construction

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The Provincial Growth Fund grant will go towards training and securing construction workers.jpg
A $10billion pipeline of construction work in Otago has received a welcome quarter-million-dollar boost to prepare the way to train and secure workers for a multitude of projects.

Both the manufacturing and service sectors in Otago and Southland have been suffering for more than two years from the lack of professional, skilled or unskilled people, hampering expansion, while the future housing supply for workers is a cause of concern.

In a total $6.86million in five grants made to Otago yesterday, the Dunedin City Council will receive $250,000 for future construction workforce modelling from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Across Otago there is about $10billion worth of construction projects forecast over the next 15 years, including the new $1.5billion Dunedin Hospital, and the Construction Workforce Modelling Project was initiated to provide analysis of the labour demand required.

The project is co-led by Ministry of Social Development and Dunedin council's Enterprise Dunedin.

Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said the project would have tangible value for businesses and job-seekers in Otago.

"The project will enable us to predict the numbers required across the Otago region, including Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago, Clutha, Dunedin and Waitaki Councils to successfully complete developments," he said in a statement.

From Dunedin's point of view, the project would provide the necessary information about training education demand, but also for future housing demand, Mr Christie said.

While there was an acknowledged national demand for skilled workers, because of several large-scale projects, Mr Christie said the modelling information would help industry prepare with confidence, through investment in attracting, training or hiring skilled workers.

The other regional stakeholders are: Ngai Tahu, Otago Chamber of Commerce, Otago Southland Employers Association and the Waitaki, Central Otago, Clutha and Queenstown Lakes district councils, plus some industry participants.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said the project complemented the chamber's work on local training pathways and labour supply, so as to ensure the successful roll-out of construction and infrastructure development throughout the region.

"It also improves the visibility of concurrent projects so that planners across the region can collaborate to best utilise the available workforce over time," Mr McGowan said in a statement.

Ministry for Social Development spokeswoman Emma Hamilton said funding support for construction-related projects highlighted the need for a clear, wide-spread understanding about the skills and trades required over the next 15 years.

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