Investment in apprentices secures future of rail

11 September 2020

New government investment in rail apprentices will get more young people into a rewarding career and help secure the future of rail in New Zealand, KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller says.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today announced $4 million funding, through the Provincial Growth Fund, to support about 100 new rail apprenticeships over the next two years.

The investment will also see KiwiRail establish four new apprenticeship qualifications, in addition to its two existing programmes.

“The new qualifications will make rail more than just a job – they will make it a rewarding career – and help ensure KiwiRail has the new blood and skills it needs for a strong future,” Mr Miller says.

KiwiRail, through its support and equipment for internships, cadets, apprenticeships and graduate programmes matches the Government’s investment in the next generation of rail industry talent.

“This Government support for apprenticeships will help us attract more young people into rail, including through a school gateway programme, and it will allow us to create a clear, sustainable pathway for them to learn skills and progress in the businesses, Mr Miller says.

“I know how important these training opportunities are because I started out in my first job at Mainfreight as a cadet. I know from personal experience the value of creating a framework that introduces young workers to all aspects of the exciting and important transport and logistics industry.”

The apprenticeships will range from track staff, to mechanical engineers, signals and electrical specialists, and train drivers. Some apprenticeships will be offered internally, to bridge immediate skill gaps and develop staff, but the majority will be for new recruits. All of the 100 new apprenticeships will be offered in the regions, though KiwiRail’s existing programmes are open to all applicants, anywhere.

“No company is more Kiwi than KiwiRail. We’re a truly national business and we are woven into communities across the country. We want to play our part in making sure regions as well as the cities can provide solid opportunities to their young people,” Mr Miller says.

“There is a wealth of experience and knowledge among KiwiRail’s staff and I want to see that passed down to the next generation.

“KiwiRail is committed to delivering an efficient and effective rail system for New Zealand – that can help take trucks off our roads and reduce our carbon emissions – but that can’t be done without people.

“That’s why this Government investment is so important. It’s a true investment in the future of rail.”