Increasing demand for construction workers in Dunedin will help drive the success of a new trades training facility in the city, the chief executive of a training organisation says.

Consent documents provided by the Dunedin City Council showed Skills Consulting Group (Skills) plans for a trades training centre that would bring up to 110 people to a Glenelg St facility when it opens.

Chief executive Rosanne Graham said Dunedin had several major infrastructure projects ongoing, such as the hospital, University of Otago renovation and the ACC building.

“These are critical projects and there is a large demand for tradespeople.

“It made sense to establish a training hub such as this in Dunedin, and it fits in with our new strategy.”

Skills is a member-based charitable organisation with over 30 years’ experience in the tertiary education sector.

Prior to a legislative change in 2022, it was New Zealand’s largest industry training organisation with more than 25,000 learners across 23 industries.

Now, it is one of the largest operators of private training in New Zealand, operating 40 sites.

Through Etco, which it acquired in April 2023, it takes care of 63% of all New Zealand’s electrical apprentices.

Its ICE business looks after 20% of New Zealand’s plumbing, gas-fitting and drain-laying apprentices.

“Etco has had that connection to Dunedin for more than 26 years.

“The bit that is different is our strategy to create this specialist trades school, which will be purpose-built .

“It’s about taking the current businesses we have, and ensuring we have the capacity for the main regional hubs.”

“When we looked at building this facility, we had a lot of comments from our members saying there were key skills shortages.”

Drain-laying, plumbing, gas-fitting, roofing and electrical training courses would be on offer, the documents said.

Day-time courses would run five days a week and cater to up to 88 students, supported by 22 staff.

Night classes, focusing on electrical courses, would be offered up to four times a week and have a maximum of 60 students with only four staff on site.

Construction of the facility should be complete in the next few months, Ms Graham said.

At this stage, Skills was working to the parameters of the consent, but was unsure whether it would be fully equipped by the opening.

There were originally plans for a commercial barber shop on site and non-trades-related courses, including salon support, stylists, nails, beauty and barber courses, as well as aged care.

“It’s a movable feast, but we’re very excited about what we could achieve here.”

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