KiwiRail will employ 100 new apprentices, thanks to government funding from the Regional Apprenticeship Initiative.
The New Zealand infrastructure manager and rail operator will receive $4 million to support the employment of up to 100 apprentices who will have a pathway into employment in the rail industry.
Apprenticeships will involve areas such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electricity supply, rail operations, building/structures, and track infrastructure. Job roles will include signals and electrical specialists, train drivers, and track staff.
To facilite the training component, KiwiRail will also establish four new apprenticeship qualifications, taking the total number of qualifications to six.
KiwiRail group chief executive Greg Miller said the apprenticeships would not only ensure the trainees’ future, but the longevity of the company.
“The new qualifications will make rail more than just a job – they will make it a rewarding career – and help ensure KiwiRail has the new blood and skills it needs for a strong future,” he said.
With the funding support from the government, which KiwiRail will match with in-kind and cash contributions, will expand the depth of the rail industry workforce.
“This government support for apprenticeships will help us attract more young people into rail, including through a school gateway programme, and it will allow us to create a clear, sustainable pathway for them to learn skills and progress in the businesses,” said Miller.
Apprentices will be employed in the regions, however applications are open to anyone. Some apprenticeships will be offered to existing staff for upskilling, but most will be delivered to new staff.
“There is a wealth of experience and knowledge among KiwiRail’s staff and I want to see that passed down to the next generation,” said Miller.
“KiwiRail is committed to delivering an efficient and effective rail system for New Zealand – that can help take trucks off our roads and reduce our carbon emissions – but that can’t be done without people.”
Apprentices who are employed by KiwiRail will have a workforce development adviser assigned to them to provide pastoral care and ongoing support to enable the apprenticeship to be successfully maintained.