People Development

The plan aims to build capability through addressing skills gaps, helping shape the reforms in vocational education, and creating a long-term workforce plan.

people development

The construction workforce must grow and develop so it can meet the demand for new houses, buildings and other infrastructure. There are shortages of people and skills throughout the sector and not enough capacity to deliver the growing pipeline of construction projects. The shortages run across the trades and professions and include plumbers, electricians, builders, engineers, planners and project managers.

By 2022, it’s estimated the sector will need 15% more plumbers, 14% more electricians and 12% more civil engineers.
MBIE - Future demand for construction workers, July 2017

To build a sustainable workforce, the sector must promote and value diversity and ensure that everyone can see a good career path in construction.

Building and construction methods are also evolving in response to new technology, innovation, and environmental and policy changes. The construction workforce needs to evolve alongside these developments to ensure it has the skills to support a modern, productive industry.

In the Accord, government committed to several initiatives to grow the workforce including six programmes within the Construction Skills Action Plan (CSAP). Read about progress on skills initiatives.

The actions in this Transformation Plan work to build on the CSAP and other programmes, and to better connect industry to existing initiatives and to ensure they meet industry needs.

Transformation programmes

Build workforce capability

There are skills gaps across the construction process including trades, architects, planners, engineers, and project managers.

The leadership group will work with the Tertiary Education Commission, MBIE and wider industry to identify skills gaps and assess these against the education and training programmes available. New initiatives will be developed to address gaps, targeting the areas of highest need across the vocations and professions.

There will also be a focus on broader professional standards for the industry and life skills that support a successful career in construction (eg literacy, numeracy) and skills in contracts, risk and business management. The new initiatives will include building capability in different population groups including women, Māori and Pasifika.

Shape the Reform of Vocational Education

Government is reviewing the way vocational education is delivered in New Zealand and this process needs coordinated input from industry.

The leadership group will coordinate industry input and provide a leadership voice into RoVE. It will collaborate with the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission and MBIE to help shape the design of the vocational education system. This includes:

  • advocating for the new Workforce Development Council for construction to be set up first
  • partnering with the Regional Skills Leadership Groups and Workforce Development Councils to ensure the skills people are being trained in match what the industry needs. The partnership will also work to develop a better skills forecast and skills supply plan. This will ensure the right numbers are being trained in the right skills, and will support a more productive and resilient workforce.
  • working with the Tertiary Education Commission and vocational educational experts to co-design and establish the Construction Centre of Vocational Excellence to drive innovation and excellence in vocational teaching and learning.

Long-term workforce plan

There is no long-term sector workforce plan, resulting in a mismatch between workforce supply and demand.

The leadership group will develop a long-term vocational and professional workforce plan, which will include industry-led initiatives, to ensure a better match between the supply of people and skills and the construction pipeline of work. This will include defining the role of migrant workers in providing a more sustainable workforce.

Boost Construction Skills Action Plan

To increase the number of skilled workers in industry, government has implemented the Construction Skills Action Plan. Industry now needs to actively support it.

The Accord leadership group will support and use the programmes in the CSAP by providing jobs and training through the Mana in Mahi and Skills for Industry programmes. They will connect to the Jobs and Skills Hubs and support the youth transitions initiative. The group will work to promote construction careers. The wider industry will be urged to support the CSAP.

Diversity in construction

Construction is not perceived as an attractive career choice for many, meaning the industry is missing out on a large potential pool of workers and diversity is limited. For example women make up only 18 per cent of the construction-related workforce and Māori and Pasifika are underrepresented in the skilled professions.

The leadership group will work with government and industry to build on existing diversity campaigns that promote construction as a good career option. They will consider initiatives for ensuring a workplace culture that welcomes and values diversity, and identify and share good practice. The initial focus will be on increasing the participation of women in construction through supporting the Women in Trades, and Engineering New Zealand’s The Diversity Agenda initiative.

Follow progress on the Accord and Transformation Plan programme.

Programme timeline

Date Programme 
TBC Industry support for Construction Skills Action Plan underway
March 2020 RoVE engagement underway
June 2021 Diversity campaigns begin
TBC Skills training pilots complete and rolling out
May 2022 Long term workforce plan in place
Last updated: 22 October 2020