Whanganui & Partners’ Interim CE Gaelle Deighton is excited by the opportunities that will arise from the $26.75m allocated to Whanganui’s port redevelopment, Te Puwaha, from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).
“From an economic development perspective, I believe this will have a powerful impact throughout the 2020s and beyond,” she said. “This is critical infrastructure that will help transform our port into a modern freight and logistics hub and an attractive location for innovative businesses to cluster.”
“Our access to river and sea has played a crucial role in our identity and economy. A revitalised port can now be a launch pad to build on many of our strategic advantages, like our central location, natural resources and strong manufacturing base.”
Deighton explained that there are a suite of projects contained within Te Puwaha. In addition to attracting businesses that could use the port facility, Whanganui & Partners has been involved in the Port Employment Precinct (PEP) through supporting the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust’s (WDETT) application. The PEP received $1.5m in funding from Te Ara Mahi, the PGF initiative earmarked for developing regional employment, skills and capability.
The PEP will see a training and employment facility set up, ensuring trainees are on the ground and ready to move into employment, and to be upskilled with the right skills and attributes to meet the needs of the businesses at the port.
Deighton says the PEP is key to ensuring the economic benefits of the port are felt widely across Whanganui.
“There are 300-600 jobs predicted to come out of the port redevelopment over the next decade,” Deighton said. “This is a significant boost in employment opportunity for Whanganui, and for the Castlecliff community in particular. To access these opportunities, we need to give people the opportunity to train for them.”
Training will be carried out by various establishments who have the necessary experience and resources to train the modules required. Recent government announcements around enhanced funding for apprenticeships and fees-free trades training also provides added incentive for participation from the local community looking to up-skill.
“The philosophy behind the initiative is to match training with employer demand and thereby offer workers reliable pathways into long-term employability,” Deighton said. “This is a flexible and innovative approach to skills development, which suits the demands of the modern economy as well as the needs of our businesses and workers.”
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