With nearly 100 in a queue outside the door at 9am the signs were great for the Te Ahu a Turanga Highway recruitment drive on Sunday, October 4 in Dannevirke.
For the whole three hours the Dannevirke Sports Centre was busy as over 300 came in and filled out expressions of interest in the great variety of employment opportunities which will become available once construction of the Manawatū-Tararua Highway is begun in 2021.
Many had travelled considerable distances, including three young engineers from Hamilton.
The same response occurred in the afternoon at Ashhurst when again the presentations were swamped, the total applications for the two venues exceeding 700.
Alliance construction manager Tony Adams said he would have been really disappointed if the response had been less because working on such a project was a really cool job no matter what exactly you were doing.
He had just finished five years on the Huntly bypass and said with design and consenting processes nearly complete "he could almost smell the starting line" in this new project which he personally had been viewing for two years already.
In addition to the Alliance's staff supplying information about the huge range of jobs they provided, recruitment staff from other businesses were there with the blessing of the Alliance to help people with placements in training and jobs.
First of these is the recently formed Central Skills Hub, created with help from PGF funding to raise the skills levels of New Zealanders. The Alliance is its first major client because the Central Hub provides the link between supply of workers and demand from businesses.
Operations manager Lynette Bailey said her job is to help people displaced by recent events or who are transitioning to a different career to find options either into a job or a training institution.
One such training institution is Civil Construction Skills Training based in Ashhurst which trains job seekers in excavation skills. Owner Greg Lumsden says he has an 80-90 per cent success in placing trained recruits into jobs.
Another was Traffic Management NZ looking for more staff to train so that traffic will flow effectively while construction is under way.
With a target of 350 workers at any one time, 60 per cent of whom hopefully will be locals, the Te Ahu a Turanga Manawatū-Tararua Alliance looks well on the way to jumping the next hurdle.