Manufacturers are important employers in New Zealand creating many opportunities for skilled and unskilled labour.
As released in ManufacturingNZ’s election manifesto, the sector employs 250,000 people and accounts for 14% of all jobs.
In the current skills shortage environment, the sector needs the incoming government to have a cohesive strategy for addressing growing the workforce of today and in the future.
In the EMA Election Manifesto, it outlined several recommendations to close the skills and training gaps.
- Applying more funding to fill the skills gaps in the trade sector and incorporate an employer-based approach
- Policies need to reflect lifelong career development, including a continuation of funding and support for workplace literacy programmes; and an co-ordinated approach to managing an ageing workforce
- Ensuring the immigration process is less complicated, having a greater emphasis on the points system to meet the required skills required by employers. Automatic extension of temporary work visas for sectors placed on the skills shortages list.
“Our manufacturing sector is an integral part of New Zealand’s economy. It produces around 50% of our exports, makes a significant contribution to the regions, invests in plant and machinery along with investing about $450 million in research and development,” says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA.
“While automation and developments in technology have enhanced the manufacturing sector, there is a worsening labour shortage – 65% of employers say there is, or soon will be, a skills shortage in their sector. The next government needs to address this.”
Another key challenge for manufacturers is transport and infrastructure. In the EMA Election Manifesto, it outlined several areas that business wants addressed in this regard. These range from expediting critical national infrastructure, easing congestion particularly in Auckland through to reforming the resource management system.
“We need to keep ahead of the demand curve to ensure our manufacturers remain competitive. This impacts their entire supply chain, from sourcing of materials through to getting goods to market – and everything in between,” says Mr Campbell.