Waikato Business News August/September 2023

Waikato Business News has for a quarter of a century been the voice of the region’s business community, a business community with a very real commitment to innovation and an ethos of cooperation.

Waikato Business News has for a quarter of a century been the voice of the region’s business community, a business community with a very real commitment to innovation and an ethos of cooperation.

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8<br />

Fund launch marks<br />

20 years of <strong>Waikato</strong><br />

Engineering Careers<br />

Association<br />

1. 2.<br />

More than 100 engineering leaders, educators and<br />

supporters gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of<br />

<strong>Waikato</strong> Engineering Careers Association at the University of<br />

<strong>Waikato</strong>’s impressive new The Pā recently.<br />

3.<br />

4.<br />

The occasion was marked with the launch<br />

of a new <strong>Waikato</strong> Engineering Education<br />

Fund, focusing on innovation, diversity<br />

and equity in the sector.<br />

Hanga-Aro-Rau, the Workforce Development<br />

Council for Manufacturing Engineering and<br />

Logistics, is applauding the launch, with the sector’s<br />

skills shortage set to grow by 38 per cent to<br />

40,000 workers by 2028 if immediate action is<br />

not taken.<br />

The council’s chief executive Phil Alexander-Crawford,<br />

who attended WECA celebrations,<br />

says WECA’s fund spearheads a direct regional<br />

response to the shortage, supporting innovation<br />

and underrepresented groups in our community.<br />

“This approach is hugely encouraging for our<br />

sector as Aotearoa faces critical skills shortage.<br />

Women are a major source of untapped talent<br />

and are a big part of the solution and we are also<br />

fortunate to have a growing Māori and Pacific<br />

WECA Life Member nominee Roger Evans and<br />

General Manager Mary Jensen cut the cake.<br />

Event organisers Destiny Iraia and<br />

Monique Aitchison of FutureForce®<br />

Careers Hub with Sally Birch, Mary<br />

Jensen and Maddie Walker of WECA.<br />

community. These people are increasingly essential<br />

for creating an innovative and skilled workforce,”<br />

Alexander-Crawford says.<br />

WECA general manager Mary Jensen says<br />

marking the 20-year milestone was a way to celebrate<br />

the strong foundations of the region’s engineering<br />

sector.<br />

The association was founded in 2003 to combat<br />

disconnection between the tertiary education<br />

system and employers, who were struggling to<br />

work together to build a workforce.<br />

“Before WECA was established, engineering<br />

and manufacturing was somewhat a hidden<br />

industry. WECA has been able to bring our sector<br />

to life for young people. It’s paid off, with those<br />

who have been involved for 20 years still around<br />

today – testament to the fact that training and<br />

growing your own workforce from the ground up<br />

grows strong businesses,” Jensen says.<br />

WECA was the brainchild of Roger Evans of<br />

Stafford Engineering, a long-time proponent<br />

of skills development in the region’s business.<br />

Evans was nominated for a WECA Life Membership<br />

at the celebration.<br />

“Roger, and those like him have been a strong<br />

employer voice and generous crusader for better<br />

skills and training in our region.”<br />

Jensen says in two decades the WECA team<br />

has attended more than 60 Careers Expos, spoken<br />

to 1000s of young people, built websites,<br />

facilitated work placements, and lobbied on<br />

behalf of the sector.<br />

“We’ve advocated for members, including<br />

seven years on the <strong>Waikato</strong> Labour Market<br />

Forum and, more recently, supporting Pam Roa<br />

of Longveld in her role with the Regional Skills<br />

Leadership Group. Our members have also profiled<br />

more than 100 young engineers across a<br />

broad spectrum of roles in the regional careers<br />

resource, FutureForce Careers Hub.”<br />

Jensen also represents the region – and<br />

WECA - on the Industry Stakeholder Group for<br />

Hanga-Aro-Rau, the workforce development<br />

council.<br />

The <strong>Waikato</strong> Engineering Education Fund<br />

will be managed by Momentum <strong>Waikato</strong> Community<br />

Foundation and is primarily for scholarships<br />

for trainees, apprentices, and professionals<br />

in the <strong>Waikato</strong> engineering sector, with<br />

a focus on innovation, equity and diversity.<br />

To donate: www.momentumwaikato.nz/donate.<br />

WECA’s 20th Anniversary Celebration<br />

was supported by Vulcan, Beca, University of<br />

<strong>Waikato</strong>, Wintec – Te Pūkenga, Hanga-Aro-Rau<br />

and FutureForce Careers Hub.<br />

5.<br />

7.<br />

9.<br />

11.<br />

6.<br />

8.<br />

10.<br />

12.<br />

1. WECA originals Lou Ewington, Steve Andrew, Bruce Howatt and Roger Evans, Stafford Engineering.<br />

2. A great crowd celebrating WECA’s 20th anniversary at the University of <strong>Waikato</strong> Pā. | 3. The crew from<br />

Vulcan, Jason Merrie, John Teuru, Geoff Maisey, Dean McGovern and Rod Hagan with WECA Chair Mike<br />

Welten. | 4. University of <strong>Waikato</strong> Professor Janis Swan, Wintec – Te Pūkenga’s Trudy Harris and Smart<br />

<strong>Waikato</strong>’s Kris Anderson. | 5. WECA Board Member Mike Duke, of University of <strong>Waikato</strong>, and John Gallagher<br />

of Gallagher Group. | 6. Pam Roa of Longveld and Janice Lapwood of Momentum <strong>Waikato</strong>. | 7. Owen Embling<br />

of Convex, Shelley Wilson of Wintec - Te Pūkenga and Longo Takataka of Longveld. | 8. David Hallett of<br />

Company-X, Rosie Spragg of Te Waka, Les Roa of Longveld and Keith Gallagher of Gallagher Group.<br />

9. University of <strong>Waikato</strong> Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Alister Jones telling the story of The Pā. |10. Graeme<br />

King of Mainline and Dean McGovern of Vulcan. | 11. The JP Marshall crew Alex Mowles, Marcus Heayns,<br />

Adrian Marshall and Blair Ussher. | 12. WECA Manager Sally Birch, University of <strong>Waikato</strong> Senior Deputy Vice<br />

Chancellor Alister Jones and WECA original Lou Ewington. | 13. Beca’s Vinal Kumar, Iona Young and Richard<br />

Douch with University of <strong>Waikato</strong>’s Jess Vanxay. | 14. Dave Stuart of Stafford Engineering, Mike Welten WECA<br />

Chair, Peter Wilkinson of Wilkinson Transport Engineers and Roger Evans. | 15. Raffle winner David Hallett of<br />

Company-X and Monique Aitchison of FutureForce® Careers Hub. | 16. Hanga-Aro-Rau Chief Executive Phil<br />

Alexander-Crawford, WECA General Manager Mary Jensen and Hanga-Aro-Rau’s Hagen Tautari.<br />

13.<br />

15.<br />

14.<br />


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