New training facility for Eastern Bay of Plenty

Image: Supplied.

Moving goods and people around and from the Eastern Bay of Plenty is a key enabler for regional development.

Thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund announcements there’s about to be more investment in accessible training for local people to gain the skills industry needs to drive and operate the vehicles are machines we need.

“The Eastern Bay Regional Development Plan identified workforce availability and transportation as key constraints to our growth,” says Toi EDS chair David Turner.

“So we’ve got stuck in alongside industry and training to vision and plan a training facility in Kawerau, and supported transport from other parts of the Eastern BOP for people keen to upskill or work as drivers, machine operators and logistics personnel.

“We’re absolutely delighted government has recognised how urgent our need is here in the east.”

The Regional Development plan points to primary industries, manufacturing and tourism as key drivers of growth, and all depend on efficient movement of goods and people.

“When we took a look at freight and logistics training provision available right here in the Eastern Bay, we could see it was pretty sparse and fragmented.” says Toi EDA’s workforce development manager Barbara MacLennan.

“Yet so many local employers are calling out for keen and trained people, ranging from forklift drivers to logging and freight drivers and operators, and growing call for people who can do the planning for efficiencies of movements. So we got researching and talking with anyone keen to engage.”

What’s being put in place is a facility right in the heart of Kawerau’s industrial area, where growth is already well underway.

“We’ve partnered with three training providers to start with,” says Toi EDA trustee and chair of the regional freight logistics action group John Galbraith.

“Along with them we’re co-ordinating a range of training at the facility, starting from July 2019.

“We know there’s a strong demand – we estimate the Eastern Bay is currently short of about 70 drivers and that number will treble in the next few years with natural attrition and as new industrial developments take hold.

“We will also offer training for a range of mobile equipment operators required in construction, agricultural and horticultural contracting work.”

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