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New Zealand looks to UK for engineers


NEW ZEALAND was this week organising a major recruitment seminar in London as it battles with a growing shortage of engineers.

Surging infrastructure demand and strong economic growth has left New Zealand and neighbouring Australia with a severe skill gap.

Consultant MWH, which has a large base in New Zealand, is organising special seminars at events like the London Opportunities New Zealand Expo next month.

And other consultants also said they were looking for engineers to work down under.

'We have been trying to find some 150 graduate and qualified engineers, ' said Richard Aitken, chief executive of Auckland based consultant Deca.

'And I know contractors like Fletcher have been to the UK - they were looking for 30 project engineers.'

Demand in New Zealand is being driven by severe backlogs in infrastructure repair and renewal, he said.

New Zealand capital Auckland's traffic jams were recently listed at the number one issue in elections there, creating demand for new roads.

There is also demand for a renewal of the power grid, wastewater treatment and hydro schemes.

New Zealand and Australia have benefited from huge growth in the Chinese economy which is spilling out into the whole Asia Pacific region.

'There is a major impact on the mining sector which has pushed demand for engineers across the board, ' said Paul Morris, structural engineer at Van Der Meer Consulting in Perth Australia.

'It soaks up staff but also stimulates infrastructure projects throughout the economy which has a double effect on structural and civil demand.'

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