Wellington Water

Partners Porirua News

Wellington Water was an exhibitor at the recent “Women in Construction Expo” hosted by Partners Porirua, where they promoted their training programme for young people. It’s a six-week training course that gives youth the basic infrastructure skills they need to start on the frontline.

Brett Marais leads the recruitment programme for Wellington Water, “the course gives candidates, aged 17-24, an introduction to infrastructure and the opportunity to gain a level 2 qualification.”

Brett says it’s great to be in an industry that can offer training and help young people find their first place of work. Students that successfully complete the programme are then offered a full-time employment contract with Wellington Water. “The students graduate with an infrastructure skillset and can go on to work in wastewater, drinking water, or operations and maintenance.”

Wellington Water’s goal is to get more women into the water industry, with a company target of 50% of women attending the infrastructure skills course over the next few years. It’s a goal they’re working towards, with 6 out of 60 young women attending the last programme. It’s encouraging because all the young women that graduated from our first course now have employment.  

Jacqui Edwards, Workforce Development Manager at Partners Porirua, introduced five rangatahi to the programme. 

“One of our young wahine works in the drinking water team and is thriving and enjoying the work. This involves responding to water leaks, burst water mains, pipes etc.,” says Jacqui. 

Brett says it’s fantastic to be in an industry that helps young people find their first place of work, and it’s a win-win because the company has new staff that are recently trained. Partners Porirua has been fantastic and supportive of the programme.

Brett says Youth 2 Work events enable Wellington Water to talk to young people face-to-face about the jobs available in the water industry.

“One of our challenges is the water industry hasn’t really promoted itself well in the past, and people don’t really understand what we do.” He says, “it’s great to be at events like the Women in Construction expo as young people can learn more about the water industry and the jobs available to them.”

Brett says he has discovered very quickly that the traditional messages about working on the frontline aren’t attractive to young people – especially young women. He says he now communicates how important safe drinking water is and how disposing of wastewater is crucial to sustainability and the environment.

“Young people are in a world that has changed so much. The water industry can provide training and career progression. And, because it is an essential service, it’s recession proof and can provide more certainty to job seekers.”

Wellington Water works in Partnership with Partners Porirua and its Youth 2 Work Movement. It is committed to helping youth find employment and succeed.