Hundreds apply in response to New Zealand recruitment drive

More than 800 UK construction industry professionals are reported to have registered in response to an advertising campaign seeking the skills needed to help deliver more than NZ$125bn of infrastructure in New Zealand. According to a spokesman for the recruitment service LookSee Build NZ, the campaign has received over 13,000 applications worldwide, including around 800 from the UK.

LookSee Build NZ has been set up by a consortium of New Zealand government organisations and private companies hoping to attract more than 56,000 professionals and to fill positions for around 2,200 'high-end' construction specialists. New Zealand is already suffering from a skills shortage and on top of the NZ$125billion of infrastructure already planned for the coming decade, the country's new Prime Minister,  Jacinda Ardern, has announced a NZ$2 billion housing programme targeting construction of 10,000 homes a year for 10 years.

“New Zealand is open for business because we need and want the best the UK construction sector can offer,” said recruitment spokesman and construction consultant, Aaron Muir. “We’ve got the support of the New Zealand government, which is introducing a special KiwiBuild fast track visa scheme, and we’re partnering with Immigration NZ to make the whole process as smooth and as seamless as possible.”

The campaign is claimed as a first for New Zealand’s public and private construction sector working together for a single cause. Regional director for engineering and infrastructure consultant Aurecon, Carl Devereux, said the need for top talent is so acute it required an innovative approach:

“Aurecon has a strong pipeline of work, including some of New Zealand’s largest infrastructure projects. Hiring global talent ensures we have diversity of thought sitting around the table to solve complex challenges the engineering industry faces. Diversity means not only gender but also culture, qualifications and age. We believe diversity of thought helps us to develop innovative solutions."

Auckland Transport chief infrastructure officer Greg Edmonds says the recent downturn in British construction activity created an ideal employment environment in which to make a pitch to potential migrants to New Zealand. If people do get a job as a result of LookSee Build NZ their airfares to New Zealand will be repaid, he says.

The LookSee Build NZ campaign is targeting highly skilled professionals from the UK, Ireland and Canada to assist them in becoming ‘New Zealand-ready’ before match-making candidates who are interested, qualified and available with the appropriate employer.