Road ready and raring to go
There was an energy of excitement at the Cosmopolitan Club last week, as 13 new recruits graduated from Downer’s road-ready course.
The graduates are the latest wave of recruits taken on to deliver Council’s upcoming $25m road maintenance programme, funded by the Provincial Growth Fund.
The week-long course offered a practical introduction to roading, as well as the opportunity to build mental and physical health and resilience.
“This is my pretty much my first real job and I can’t wait to get out there,” said Tyrin Wylie, who found himself looking for new opportunities after playing rugby overseas until COVID-19 cut the season short.
“I’ve learned so much this week and really appreciate this opportunity,” he said.
More than 20 new positions have been created within local roading contractors in the last two months as a result of the PGF investment, adding to the 160 local people already working on local roading projects every month.
Council director of lifelines David Wilson says the new positions are a perfect example of local and national agencies working together on government investment to achieve the best possible benefits for the community.
“We’ve worked very closely with Downer, the Provincial Development Unit and the Ministry of Social Development to make this happen,” said Mr Wilson.
“In addition to improving our roads, by working together we’re creating new jobs, training and getting local people qualified.”
The road ready programme helps transition people into the infrastructure sector and provide much needed support to deliver the work and keep road users safe, says Darrin Davy, Downer regional manager.
“Downer has a strong commitment to the Tairāwhiti region and we’re proud of this achievement. The graduates have been so motivated and keen to jump in to get the job done. It’s been great to see.”
The Ministry of Social Development held recruitment days and placed the graduates into the vacant positions at Downer. The course was funded through the national industry partnership programme.
“These are great results for our Tairawhiti community and these jobs offer people and their whānau fantastic opportunities,” said Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Annie Aranui.
“It’s also a great example of how effective targeted, short-term industry training can be,” said Ms Aranui.
Council has completed over $30m of PGF road upgrades since May 2019 and will deliver a further $25m of projects before the end of this year.
For more information about the PGF programme of works, see www.gdc.govt.nz/major-projects(external link).
Photo below - Top row: Maree Keelty (Downer training coordinator), Karl Broughton, Shanach Te Maro, George Coleman, Ngatamaoro Kitai, Peter Karr (Curly), Chloe Jones (Downer training coordinator).
Bottom row: Wayne Hartley, Maurice Kernohan, Allan Tamanui (Tawiri), Raymond Scott, Mary Taingahue, Tyrin Wylie.