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New Lower Hutt Jobs and Skills Hub key to RiverLink delivery

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The Government has announced today that a new Jobs and Skills Hub will be opened in central Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai (Lower Hutt).

It will help connect local communities with the thousands of new jobs predicted to be created from local projects like RiverLink over the next decade.

Scheduled to open in the first half of 2023, the Jobs and Skills Hub will partner with local employers to help them find skilled workers and support people to enter apprenticeships, training and employment opportunities in construction and infrastructure close to where they live.

An estimated $2.7 billion in local and central government projects across the Hutt Valley is coming online over the next decade. This investment is expected to lead to the creation of around 4,500-6,750 jobs. With a construction and infrastructure workforce shortage of nearly 30,000 in the wider Wellington Region, the Jobs and Skills Hub is essential to ensuring those projects can be delivered.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) will run the Hub in collaboration with local organisations, industry, and government agencies. RiverLink project partners Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa, Waka Kotahi, Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington have all agreed to use the Hub as a key recruitment source for their works programmes.

“We are very excited for this development and the significant benefits it will bring as we progress vital infrastructure projects across our city”, says Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry.

“It provides a service to connect our people with the many opportunities in the pipeline, to grow their skills, and help our local businesses find skilled, talented people to work on these projects.  Overall, it will strengthen the local economy, building up the capability and experience of people and businesses working on transformational projects such as RiverLink.”

Daran Ponter, Chair of Greater Wellington, says the hub is a necessary step that shows the advantage of working together at scale on a partnership project like RiverLink

“RiverLink is a hugely significant project that will not only help transform living, working and travelling along the river but will also help bring much-needed resilience to Hutt City.

The flood protection element alone will help save lives, defend thousands of homes and 600 businesses, and keep significant Crown assets intact so having locals working on the project and telling others of its importance to the community is vital,” says Chair Ponter.

“RiverLink will require thousands of skilled workers over the next five years. It’s not just about delivering transformational change for the community through physical works. We want to be able to transform the lives of Kiwis, particularly our rangatahi, with new skills and training opportunities that will set them up for long and successful careers in the infrastructure and construction industries,” says Emma Speight, Waka Kotahi Director of Regional Relationships.

The RiverLink programme is building real momentum towards delivery, with final resource consents granted by the Environment Court on 3 November 2022.

Procurement documents were released on 13 October. This marks the start of a formal process to select a preferred team of designers and constructors to deliver RiverLink. The proposal stage is scheduled to close on 15 December, with a preferred delivery partner announced in March 2023.

Early works are scheduled to start early to mid-2023, with main construction beginning in late 2023. The RiverLink programme is expected to be completed in 2027.

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