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Aurecon sets up cadet programme with Ngāi Tahu

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chairman Mark Solomon, with Neil Barr, Aurecon Manager of New Zealand and Australia Offices, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu CEO Mike Sang.

19 July 2012 - Aurecon has joined forces with Ngāi Tahu to support the growth of employment opportunities for young Māori in the Canterbury recovery.

As part of the partnership, Aurecon has established a cadetship programme to provide career opportunities for Ngāi Tahu within the professional engineering services industry.

Neil Barr, Manager – Australia and New Zealand offices, said the cadetship programme was close to his heart.

“I have a personal problem with the youth unemployment rate in New Zealand. My own view is that the most economically beneficial untapped natural resource that New Zealand has sits between the ears of our young people. But tapping that well of talent is a challenge.

“This is about working with Ngāi Tahu to find a couple of good kids who need a break. We will employ them as cadets, we will train them, we will help them establish the basics of a working career, and we will hopefully help effect positive change in their lives so that their future families can start life in a stronger position.

“We know that the 8am-5pm stuff is really only half the issue. A whole cultural and pastoral care programme is also required around this.  I, and the whole Aurecon Christchurch leadership team, take that responsibility seriously.”

The programme will start with two young people this year, and from next year Aurecon will take on four cadets on a rolling basis so that at any one time over the next three years, there could be 10 Ngāi Tahu cadets enrolled.

Ngāi Tahu chairman Mark Solomon said that the cadets would ultimately gain certification in a profession of their chosen technical field.

“Aurecon has recognised the great need to give our Māori young people every opportunity to advance. Māori, Pasifika and Asian populations in New Zealand are rapidly increasing in proportion to the rest of the population and projections show that by the middle of the century, they could well be the bulk of the taxpaying workforce. If our children do not start becoming highly skilled, then our people, our communities and our wider economy will be worse off.

“Ngāi Tahu is saying to its young people that that they should lift their sights to achieve as professionals in those industries, including engineering, that will advance our communities.

“The cadetship creates a significant opportunity for Ngāi Tahu to contribute to the recovery of Canterbury and gain a meaningful career.”

Solomon said the venture leverages Iwi commercial relationships to create employment opportunities for iwi members, while also building the iwi technical expertise to assist Ngāi Tahu Property in future developments. This compliments and extends Te Runanga’s current workforce development activities.

Ngāi Tahu is a key client of Aurecon, controlling some NZ$750m in assets with successful commercial operations in capital investments, property development, tourism and seafood.

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