New Zealand faces skilled labor shortage in rebuilding Christchurch: officials

12:52, May 27, 2011      

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Industry training organizations in New Zealand say the country might not have enough skilled workers to rebuild the earthquake-stricken city of Christchurch after government cuts to training schemes.

The government Budget last week unexpectedly cut industry training funding from 180 million to 156 million NZ dollars (147 million to 127.4 million U.S. dollars) in the year starting July 1 and to 139 million NZ dollars a year from 2013, the New Zealand Herald reported Friday.

Industry Training Federation head Kevin Bryant told the newspaper the money would not be enough to train the skilled labor required to rebuild Christchurch, where the Feb. 22 earthquake killed 181 people and left many buildings ruined or unsafe.

"There are simply not enough trades people in work in the country to be taken out of what they are doing right now (for Christchurch)," he said.

"So there is a crisis right around the corner that is probably going to end up costing the government a heck of a lot more through other mechanisms to fill those holes than if it accepted some of the less-than-perfect scenarios that exist in the vocational training system."

Industry training had already been hit by the recession, which threw many trainees out of work, with trainee numbers falling from 133,303 at the end of 2008 to 115,600 last June, the newspaper reported.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organization chief executive Ruma Karaitiana told the newspaper his trainee numbers had almost halved from 9,800 at the end of 2008 to 5,500.

Karaitiana said a huge increase in trainees would be needed to cope with rebuilding Christchurch and other tasks.

Source: Xinhua
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