The concern of skills shortages is something worrying many businesses around the world, and for the New Zealand engineering sector it’s no different.

We’re starting to see serious skills gaps in our workforce which could strongly affect our ability to deliver quality work for our future pipeline.

To address those and other issues COMPETENZ has called the first Mechanical Engineering Sector Advisory Group (SAG) meeting following last year’s NZQA review of Mechanical Engineering qualifications. Covering most core skills of our industry sector and including engineering fabrication, strong participation from leading members marked a feeling that there’s a real commitment to work towards driving trade based training in New Zealand.

When taking a closer look at the skills demand issue, it’s clear to see our challenges are massive – especially when we look at the skills requirement forecast for the next few years.

According to 2015 statistics, Mechanical Engineering has 23,100 filled jobs and by 2020 will need an additional 5,400 people to meet employment growth and replacement demand – a similar story in Engineering Fabrication is present, with current employment at 11,255 and a need for 2,500 more people in less than four years’ time.

The message is strong – as an industry we need to be proactive if we’re to get our share of appropriately qualified people. HERA is engaged in skills training and also receives frequent feedback on skill related issues so we feel we can make a strong and relevant contribution to the COMPETENZ Mechanical Engineering SAG.

However as we look for strong direct industry engagement, I am suggesting you convey any advice or issues straight to COMPETENZ’s Industry Manager Peter Ferguson. As the HERA representative on the Group, you are of course most welcome to share any views directly with me as well.

Update shared by our Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz