Successful roadshow brings construction and infrastructure leaders together 22 March 2023 The construction and infrastructure industry in New Zealand is a vital part of the economy, employing thousands of workers and contributing significantly to our country’s GDP. To ensure the industry remains at the forefront of innovation, networking and knowledge-sharing events are essential. One such event was our Roadshow on 22 February, held in Tauranga in partnership with the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Skills Leadership Groups, where 65 people from construction and infrastructure, vocational education and government agencies gathered for a day of learning, collaboration, and networking. The event was a great success, with attendees participating in workshop sessions where they shared success stories from around the region on the topics of attraction, productivity and immigration. Insightful presentations Dave Connell – Director Connell Contractors Ltd spoke about attracting new people and how he provides careers for his staff (not just jobs). His recruitment video set the scene for what he had to say, which included the importance of getting buy-in from parents, the need for job seekers to have strong literacy and numeracy skills and how training and retaining staff leads to productivity gains Katherine Hall – Executive Director, ConCOVE spoke on productivity and shared data and insights including that New Zealanders work longer hours and produce less than workers in other OECD countries. She also said that it’s typically the least skilled, qualified or experienced and those with the fewest social and economic resources who suffer most when economies underperform. Graham Rodgers– Managing Director, Success Group, spoke on immigration and shared real-world examples of how migrant staff have a positive impact on kiwi businesses. One of his key messages was how skilled migrant staff become on-job ‘trainers’ for new entrants which supports the development of the domestic workforce. Collaboration and connection Attendees had the opportunity to learn from each other as well as make new connections and discussed replicating and/or upscaling some of the success stories they heard about on the day. The event received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with attendees praising the quality of the speakers, conversations, and networking opportunities. Attendees commented that the event was well-organised. There was overwhelming support to run this event again. Outcomes When asked what should be scaled-up for the region, attendees collectively agreed the following were important: Connecting and caring – providing support for ‘how to’ within our industries Pastoral/whānau care Promotion of local success stories on attraction and retention Pastoral care or a ‘standard of care’ for migrant workers Progression into industry from secondary schools upward Promotion of careers, not just ‘jobs’ In conclusion, the Waihanga Ara Rau roadshow in Tauranga was an opportunity for construction and infrastructure leaders from across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions to come together, learn from each other, and build valuable connections. The event was a testament to the strength of the industry and its commitment to innovation and collaboration. We will be looking to develop and showcase some of the positive proactive initiatives we heard about that are happening in the region around attracting and retaining people. We look forward to holding similar future events that will further strengthen the construction and infrastructure industry in New Zealand.