2022 to see return of iconic energy industry event

benstevens News

Wellington, 1 March 2022: The energy industry from across the motu will once again have the chance to compete, collaborate and connect with the announced return of Annual Connection in 2022.

Annual Connection is a three-day celebration of the Electricity Supply Industry and the essential work it does keeping the lights on and the country connected. It was cancelled for the first time in its 21-year history in 2020, and then again in 2021, due to Covid restrictions. That has made organiser Connexis, the infrastructure division of Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning, all the more determined to push ahead with plans for a 2022 event, to be held on September 27-29 in Levin.

This year’s event is sponsored by Electra, New Zealand’s ninth largest lines company covering the Kapiti-Horowhenua region. The location for 2022 aligns with the work Connexis is focussed on to ensure accessibility of training throughout all regions of New Zealand, as part of the Te Pūkenga charter.

The highlight of Annual Connection is the competition, where line mechanics and cable jointers pit their skills against each other, displaying the latest in best practice and technological innovation. The event also features a supplier exhibition, engagement with local schools, and an awards ceremony to recognise the best and brightest trade and technical workers across the wider energy industry.

Connexis Director Kaarin Gaukrodger says the chance for the energy industry to get together face-to-face and switch the lights back on for this iconic event is something to celebrate.

“It is important to keep looking ahead, and to celebrate our people who continue to achieve great things amid the lockdowns and uncertainty of the past couple of years,” Gaukrodger says.

“A lot of that work goes unseen by the general public and events like Annual Connection are a unique chance to show off the skills and expertise we have in the industry.

“Even more than that, the Electricity Supply Industry is a well-connected community, and Annual Connection provides that opportunity for workers from across the motu to meet and celebrate the important role they play in keeping New Zealand connected. It also provides an opportunity for collaboration and upskilling in latest techniques and equipment with a huge focus on safety.”

She adds that the event plays an important role in promoting the exciting careers available, to attract new talent to the sector and help address skills shortages.

“There’s no better way to understand what it’s like to be a line mechanic or cable jointer than by seeing them in action. It’s a great way to demonstrate to school students what a career in the Electrical Supply Industry can offer,” Gaukrodger says.

Neil Simmonds, Chief Executive of Electra, says the company is proud to sponsor Annual Connection this year. 2022 also marks Electra’s 100-year anniversary.

“Supporting Annual Connection was an easy decision for Electra to make as the event celebrates excellence in the lines industry and promotes to the community some of the difficult tasks carried out in all weather and sometimes under great pressure,” Simmonds says.

Electra Board Chair Shelly Mitchell-Jenkins says it’s exciting to host an event that will attract hundreds to Levin and that will shine a light on the vital job carried out by lines teams from around New Zealand.

Registration for the line mechanic and cable jointer competitions opens on 8 March. See https://www.connexis.org.nz/annual-connection/ for more details and for updates on Annual Connection 2022.

Connexis is the infrastructure business division of Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited. Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was established by government to unite Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Industry Training Organisations into a national network. Learn more about Te Pūkenga: http://www.tepūkenga.ac.nz/