Annual Connection – Unfortunately the lights go down on this year’s event

Prue Feely News

Wellington, 6 October 2021: COVID-19 restrictions have led to the cancellation of Annual Connection 2021 in Christchurch next month with event organisers promising to make next year’s event the best yet.

Developed by the Electricity Supply Industry and now a joint initiative between Connexis, the infrastructure industry training body, and industry, the three-day event is the highlight of the electricity supply calendar.

Connexis Director Kaarin Gaukrodger says it was a difficult decision to cancel this year’s event.  “While the cancellation is a major disappointment for all involved, to hold Annual Connection in its planned format in the current COVID climate is just not possible.”

This year’s Annual Connection was going to put a spotlight on skills shortages, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today, and the work being done on the Kohi Whakaaro Electricity Supply Industry Workforce Development Strategy to develop a coordinated industry approach for workforce sustainability.

“2021 marks the 20th year of this iconic Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) showcase and it was shaping up to be a fitting celebration, not only of the event itself, but of the tradespeople and product innovations that keep the country switched on,” Kaarin says.

Work on Annual Connection 2022 has already begun, with a determination to make it a huge success. Some sponsors have already confirmed they are back on board and it promises to be much anticipated after a two-year hiatus. (The event was also cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.)

“The Electricity Supply Industry has done a fantastic job over the past two years showing flexibility in adapting their operating practices to meet the ever-changing COVID restrictions. It has been critical in keeping the economy and our communities connected through this difficult time and deserves our admiration and thanks,” Kaarin says.

“We would also like to thank our stakeholders, sponsors, competitors and industry representatives who have put so much time and effort into Annual Connection 2021. We know they will be as disappointed as we are about this decision but hope to see them all back next year for an event to remember.”

Connexis is a business division of Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning Limited. Te Pūkenga was established by the Government to unite Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) and Industry Training Organisations, of which Connexis is one, into a national network.