An industry skill shortage in the energy infrastructure sector has seen one Hawke’s Bay company triple its intake of trainees.
Unison Contracting Services Ltd currently has 12 new trainees working through its training programme with another six due to start next month. Previously the company has taken on six trainees in total per year.
All but one of those initial 12 apprentice line mechanics, electricians and cable jointers, are being trained in partnership with Connexis, the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the Infrastructure sector.
Unison Field Training Manager Viv Bruin says that one of the key benefits of working with an ITO is the training support offered to trainees. In addition, the standards in place via an ITO, as well as training resources and NZQA credit reporting, all help ensure trainees have the best possible experience and opportunity to gain a New Zealand qualification.
“And it ensures, that at the end of the training programme, we have newly qualified staff who are more than capable of taking their place in the field and being productive,” she says.
Viv adds that the company wanted to take a pro-active approach to addressing the skills shortage in the Energy sector operations.
“We’ve changed the structure of our training to allow for full-time trainees. We now have three dedicated trade coaches and a purpose-built training facility to ensure our trainees gain targeted skills and knowledge.
“Taking on more trainees and being closely involved in their training means we can ensure the best levels of service for customers, but also means we can maintain that high standard into the future,” she says.
As an organisation owned by Hawke’s Bay power consumers, Unison prides itself in recruiting locally from a diverse range of ethnicity and age groups. This is evident in the group of current trainees and also reflects the close relationship with local secondary schools and polytechnic.
Connexis Chief Executive Peter Benfell says it’s great to see companies such as Unison front-footing the skills shortage in the Energy sector by making such a big commitment to train new staff. “And it’s great that we at Connexis, can work so closely with them to ensure their trainees are supported and well-qualified through the training process.”
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