Waikato Engineering Careers Association has spoken to dozens of engineers since COVID-19 lockdown with most reporting a “hump” of catch-up work for customers, and many predicting a “big ravine” looming from July.
Most small and medium engineering businesses spoken to say they are working to prepare for an uncertain future but are reluctant to predict job losses. Several larger, Waikato-based global manufacturers servicing fast-moving consumer goods say they are busier than ever meeting essential demand but are cautious in planning for the future.
Waikato Engineering Careers Association Manager Mary Jensen is calling on the Government to keep the sector front of mind when planning for economic recovery, particularly as it contributes about 12% ($23 billion) of NZ’s total GDP.
Keep manufacturing in mind, engineers tell Government
Waikato Engineering Careers Association has spoken to dozens of engineers since COVID-19 lockdown with most reporting a “hump” of catch-up work for customers, and many predicting a “big ravine” looming from July.Read more
WECA 2019 Highlights and AGM Report
WECA has finished 2019 on a strong note with a number of new members recently joining, a good finish to the Evolocity project, and Mana in Mahi starting to gain momentum. The importance is greater than ever to create good quality work opportunities and create pathways for youth, from work experience, apprenticeships, and cadetships into jobs, this has been widely recognised in engineering circles as we've worked together to address skills shortages and continue to "grow our own" workforce. Click here for full updateRead more
WECA Mana in Mahi success!
Young Hamilton man Denzel has had his life changed thanks to WECA, Schick, and the Mana in Mahi programme. Denzel has secured a full time job with Schick, and he credits the Government-subsidised initiative managed by WECA with turning his life around. Watch what Denzel has to say below. Employers, find out how you can turn a life around with Mana in Mahi. Read more here.
"Before I felt quite lost... now I am the most motivated, confident and inspired I have ever been. This is exactly what I needed. It's not just a job... it's a career."
WECA's September 2019 Update
Make a growth mindset part of your strategy
Staying agile in the face of technological uncertainty is a growing challenge for all business managers, none more so than those of us in the engineering sector.
We all need to be innovators, disrupters, creators and adapters if we are to keep our businesses relevant, growing and thriving.
There’s a newly coined philosophy doing the rounds that’s worth investigating; the growth mindset. This is where each team member is recognised by management as capable and talented, with the ability to improve and grow. A fixed mindset, in contrast, views employee capability and talent as limited.
Stanford University research shows employers who adopt and embrace a growth mindset (and we know many WECA members have done it for years) encourage learning, development and new ideas from their team members. These are the organisations most likely to stay agile in the face of technological uncertainty.
Notably, Microsoft Chief Executive Sayta Nadella has adopted a growth mindset to transition the tech giant from a “know it all” to a “learn it all” work environment.
To embrace a growth mindset, leaders and their teams must work together to move out of their comfort zone, get excited and adopt new ideas and beliefs.
At WECA we recognise being in the dreaded comfort zone can lead to technological stagnation. Therefore, we recently held an inaugural combined member event with Cultivate IT, the region’s digital business cluster, to foster collaboration between our organisations and innovation between our businesses.
Click for full update.
WECA's June 2019 Update
We're excited to announce that Hamilton will this year host the New Zealand finals of the EVolocity Electric Vehicle Competition for secondary schools for the first time. WECA has managed the competition in the Waikato since its inception in 2016, and has seen it going from strength-to-strength thanks to manager Levinia Paku, left, and her team of technology teachers and volunteers.
CLICK TO READ MORE.Read more
News this month:
Expos encourage future engineers
EVolocity competition revs up
Looking for entry level staff and offering training? Check out Mana in Mahi!
Bumper engineering section in FutureForce® magazine
Free investment attraction tool for innovators
Speakers wanted for Engineering NZ events
Thanks to electric vehicle kit sponsors
A word from WECA sponsors
WECA's April 2019 Update
A call to action...
1. Mana in Mahi – great opportunity for you!
2. WECA stand at NZ Careers Expo – 9th and 10th of June - Can you help?
3. Pathways Expo at Rototuna High School – invite to WECA members to support
4. EVolocity Build Day
5. Engineering in Action – Final call for student registrations
WECA's March 2019 Update
WECA has formed an exciting new partnership with the Ministry of Social Development's Mana in Mahi initiative. Translated to “strength in work,” this initiative shows real potential to make a difference in the lives of many New Zealanders, according to The Maxim Institute (2018).
In this update:Read more
EVolocity Waikato 2019 Launch
The Facts: Mana in Mahi
WECA Event: Hamilton Electric Vehicles
Engineering in Action 2019: Register now
WELCOME: Collins Automotive
Member news: Vertex fastest growing NZ manufacturing business
A word from The Electrical Training Company
WECA's February 2019 Update
In this update:Read more
WECA immigration lobbying pays off
INVITE: 2019 EVolocity Waikato Launch
WECA EVENT: Hamilton EVs - Test drive the future
WECA at A2E2 Conference
In the news: Trigon reunion
In the news: TRT's expansion
New sponsor: Hamilton Electric Vehicles
FutureForce® Careers Resource - special WECA rate
New member: Pentair
A word from The Electrical Training Company
Tertiary overhaul bodes well for “healthy” Waikato engineering sector
Cementing Waikato as New Zealand’s hub of engineering excellence should be a focus for the sector following news of a major tertiary training shake-up.
All 16 New Zealand polytechnics will merge into a single entity under a massive overhaul of the sector proposed by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.
Waikato Engineering Careers Association manager Mary Jensen said the region’s engineering sector is well placed to benefit from a proposed vocational education system overhaul.
“Our sector already provides robust training from pre-employment to trade, diploma, technology and professional degrees across several co-ordinated educational platforms. This training is all informed by an association of employers which sets Waikato apart as a New Zealand Centre of Engineering Excellence. Our educational institutions work well together to achieve practical results for industry and our ITO representatives have been doing a “sterling job” of looking after apprentices and trainees in our region.
“This organised and informed approach means cementing Waikato as New Zealand’s hub of engineering excellence is a next logical next step.”
Mary said if handled well the education overhaul will result in better streamlining of courses and training, as well as making it a lot easier for students and whanau to navigate the skills and technology education sector and its plethora of courses.Read more
WECA Update November and 2018 AGM Report
It was great to see some of you at our recent AGM and at 2018 Engineering for Educators at Precision Machining. It's been a busy and fruitful year, and we've made good progress with the association's new strategic focus.Read more
Exciting news - WECA's joint proposal (with Wintec and University of Waikato) to E2E to develop a collaborative Streamlined Engineering Pathways Mobile Hub in Waikato has been successful. The $30k proposal was accepted subject to available Secondary-Tertiary Pathways (STPP) funding, to be announced in February 2019.
In other breaking news a Waikato team has come up trumps in the EVolocity New Zealand secondary school electric vehicle competition. Tauhara College's EVolution Scorpio was named EVolocity NZ 2018 Top Team at National Finals in Christchurch, where they raced against more than 40 teams from throughout the country.
WECA Update October 2018
WECA has been in the headlines recently thanks to great publicity surrounding the EVolocity Waikato secondary school electric vehicle competition, which WECA co-ordinates in the Waikato.
Hundreds of people enjoyed the super-exciting EVolocity Waikato Regional Final, which made front page news, was promoted on several radio stations and via social media. The competition is growing and continues to be an excellent way to encourage and showcase the young engineers of the future.
About 150 students from 13 of the involved secondary schools thrashed it out on the track on finals day, and hundreds of spectators came to watch them. The competition, where student teams design, build and race their own electric kart or bike, attracted more interest than ever, including at least 30 female competitors.Read more
WECA Update August 2018
Developing innovative ways to channel the engineers of the future onto the most appropriate tertiary pathway was identified as an important way forward for the sector at a recent WECA Collaborative Marketing Workshop.
We teamed up with our friends at Wintec and the University of Waikato to discuss ways of working together to promote our industry to secondary schools students and beyond. The group, pictured below, agreed a collaborative effort to inform students about engineering pathways would help young people find their most appropriate fit within our sector. The group is working together to apply for funding for this work.
We are gearing up for a super-exciting EVolocity Waikato Regional Final later in the month, with about 150 students from 16 secondary schools preparing to thrash it out on the track. The electric vehicle competition, where student teams design, build and race their own electric kart or bike, has attracted more interest than ever, including at least 30 female competitors.Read more
WECA Update May 2018
Winter is biting but WECA members we've caught up with lately certainly don't seem to be letting the chilly weather slow them down. Thanks to everyone who has been supporting our various initiatives so far this term, including events, EVolocity electrical vehicle competition, FutureForce® Careers Resource and, of course, our generous sponsors. More about all these further down.
The critical role manufacturing will play in adapting to climate change has been highlighted in a recent Westpac NZ Climate Change Impact Report, with our sector poised to play a vital role in adapting to climate change, reducing carbon emissions and providing sustainable growth. The report also reinforces the risks climate change holds for other key sectors, such as tourism and agriculture.Read more
WECA Update April 2018
WECA members will have their say on skills and immigration when Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway visits Hamilton later this month.
The Minister will visit WECA member Longveld, where Managing Director Pam Roa will deliver a WECA recommendation on New Zealand's immigration policy. This work is part of WECA's revised focus, which includes lobbying and advocacy to Government on behalf of members. Thanks to those who gave us their feedback - it is clear the skills shortage is still hurting Waikato engineering businesses, so addressing the Minister is a timely opportunity.
We consulted with immigration specialist Richard Howard, of Pathways to NZ to formulate the recommendation, which Pam will present on July 17th. The presentation will be preceded by a Waikato Chamber of Commerce Discussion with the Minister, which WECA members are invited to attend.Read more
WECA Update February 2018
We hope 2018 has started well for you and your business. At WECA we have been planning for the year ahead in line with the strategy developed last year.
A key focus of this work is promoting Waikato as New Zealand's Hub of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence, which is in line with objectives of the Waikato economic development strategy. In this vein, we have teamed up with the communications specialists behind The Waikato Story, who are keen to support us in sharing some of the exciting stories from our sector with the world.
So... tell us your stories!! Innovative product? Waikato engineering personality? Success story? Email [email protected] now and be part of The Waikato Story!Read more
WECA Update November 2017
EVolocity Waikato team on Te Karere
Waikato engineers establish hub of excellence
Establishing Waikato as a New Zealand’s hub for engineering excellence is the aim of a new-look Waikato Engineering Careers Association (WECA) relaunched in August.
The fresh approach by engineers in the region aims to foster a vibrant engineering sector through attracting and developing skills vital for the future of the sector, a significant contributor to the region’s exports.
WECA’s new strategic plan is being applauded by Waikato economic development leader Dallas Fisher, who says the collaborative approach by the industry plays an important role in regional growth.
EVolocity Waikato 2017 Results
Congratulations to all winners of EVolocity Waikato 2017 -- superb effort teams!!
Drag Race (fastest bike), Cambridge High School’s Woody; Drag Race (fastest kart), Taupo-nui-a-tia’s Derailium and St John’s College’s Sach; Street Circuit (quickest bike), Tauhara College’s Evolution 1; Street Circuit (quickest kart), Taupo-nui-a-tia’s Derailium; Most Economical Bike, Fraser High School; Most Economical Kart, Katikati High School’s Farmer Auto Village Team; Best Performing Controller (bike), Tauhara College’s Evolution; Fastest Deceleration (bike), Hillcrest High School; Fastest Deceleration (kart), Te Kopuku High School’s Iti Rearea; Rolling Resistance (bike), Tauhara College; Rolling Resistance (kart), Taupo-nui-a-tia’s Derailium; EVy Award (video), Ngaruawahia College; EVy Award (Facebook likes), Tauhara College; Best Report, Te Kopuku High School’s Iti Rearea; Best Design and Show, Te Kopuku High School’s Iti Rearea; Innovation Challenge #2 (EV performance data logging), Tauhara College’s Evolution; Certificates of Participation, Fairfield College, Forest View High School and Melville High School.
Click Read More for photos of winners.
WECA Update August 2017
New WECA strategy under development
WECA Regional Manager Mary Jensen and co-ordinators Sally Birch and Levinia Paku have noted a positive shift in awareness of Engineering Careers in recent years. In particular there has been an upsurge in Mechanical Engineering students at University of Waikato.Read more
Forty jobs in 40 minutes for redundant workers
Waikato engineering businesses have joined forces to help workers affected by the sudden closure of A & G Price in Thames this week, with job offers flooding in to the Waikato Engineering Careers Association.
WECA manager Mary Jensen said within 40 minutes of calling on engineering business members to offer jobs to the 100 workers affected by the liquidation, 40 vacancies had come in Friday morning.
“It is excellent to see our members working together to make sure these people re-enter the workforce in our region as soon as possible. Ironically, much of our industry is in the grip of skills shortages so we need to do everything we can to keep them local,” Ms Jensen said.
Jobs offered by some of Waikato’s most successful engineering businesses range from welders, fitters, CNC machinists and fabricators to workshop managers, project engineers and supervisors.
WECA is co-ordinating a meeting of employers in Thames on Thursday, 11am, GBD in Pollen St and inviting effected A & G employees to attend.Read more
WECA Update July 2017
WECA Update May 2017
WECA Update March 2017
Tinkering tradition revived by competition
A Kiwi rite-of-passage dealt a blow by modern life is enjoying resurgence thanks to a new, hands-on initiative rolled out across Waikato secondary schools.
EVolocity Waikato, a competition where students design, build and race their own electric vehicles, is being credited for reviving the tradition of young people learning manual skills from working alongside a mentor in a workshop.Read more
Evolocity Build Day 2, 2017
EVolocity Waikato revved into gear with the second Build Day for 2017 at Cambridge High School recently. About 50 secondary school students and teachers attended the day, focused on the programming of controllers for the electric vehicles.
WECA Update September 2016
It has been an outstanding month in the WECA calendar, with the EVolocity Waikato Regional Finals inspiring plenty of media attention.
The inaugural competition saw 70-plus students from 15 secondary schools designing, building and racing electric vehicles at an exciting event at the Kartsport track, near Hamilton.
EVolocity has been a great way for WECA to inspire more interest in engineering careers and to garner publicity, with many students experiencing their first ever time in a workshop for the competition.
All hats off to WECA's Levinia Paku, who did an excellent job of co-ordinating EVolocity and to all the teams who participated and took home prizes. Students and teachers spent hundred of hours working on the vehicles and can be extremely proud of the results.Read more
EVolocity Waikato Winners 2016
Students electric vehicles put to the test
The buzz was electric as students saw nine months of hard work come to fruition with Waikato's EVolocity regional final 2016 held at Kartsport in Hamilton on Friday.
Fifteen schools competed in the inaugural event which got students to design, build and race their own electric vehicles. The concept is run by the Waikato Engineering Careers Association.
Tauhara College won the overall bike category and St John's College took out the cart division.
Watch the video and read the full Waikato Times story hereRead more
Students build electric vehicle for EVolocity Waikato
A movie inspired the electric bike a group of students from Tauhara College, Taupo, are building.
"I was watching The World's Fastest Indian, and I thought, why don't we do that?" one of the students, Denis Mansell, said.
"It's all about aerodynamics and having a low centre of gravity. You'll see some bikes are quite high, so the lower you are, the harder you can turn corners. It's all physics talk."
Watch the Stuff video here
Read the full Waikato Times story hereRead more
Electric vehicles spark engineering interest
Engineers and teachers are praising a new initiative they say is sparking renewed interest in science, maths and engineering in Waikato secondary schools.
EVolocity Waikato is a region-wide competition where students design, build and race their own electric vehicles with assistance from teachers, tertiary tutors and mentors from engineering businesses.
More than 70 students from 12 schools are taking part in the regional competition for the first time, designing and building their own electric cart or bike equipped with an electric motor kit.
Next month they will go head-to-head, racing their vehicles in a drag race and on a street circuit to see which schools’ electric vehicles will go on to compete in the national finals in Christchurch on November 27.
Design, build race! EVolocity 2016
WECA Update June 2016
There's been growing interest in WECA's work - we've had 11 new members in the last year - and it has been a busy time all around with activities promoting engineering careers.
WECA's stand was again one of the most well-frequented at the recent Waikato Careers Expo, where we had the opportunity to promote our sector to hundreds of young people, careers teachers and families.
We have put significant thought and time into developing a Waikato Engineering Pathways Poster, based on a model provided by the Canterbury Development Corporation. This useful resource required significant adaption for the sector in our region and was developed by WECA in consultation with tertiary providers and industry leaders.
The poster has provided an excellent talking point at careers events as it clearly shows sector career pathways, training required for each and their range of salaries.Read more
Have you been spotted?
The latest snapshots from WECA event:
Click on the link for full photo archive:Read more
WECA Update March 2016
While some members will be feeling the pinch from challenges in the agriculture sector, Westpac economists say there's a silver lining in the form of a weaker dollar providing an important boost to exporter incomes.
It’s good to hear it's not all bad news for the agriculture sector and, in fact, the grass is literally greener than expected with most farmers dodging predicted drought conditions so far this summer.
While many developing economies are expected to struggle in 2016, growth in key developed countries is forecast to improve. Activity has continued to soften in China and emerging markets, and the related falls in commodity prices have resulted in sharp income falls for commodity exporting nations. In contrast, conditions in the US and other higher income economies have firmed. On balance, the result is a very mixed global backdrop from a New Zealand point of view. Westpac forecasts that this divergent outlook will provide opportunities for some, and challenges for others.
We know of many WECA members diversifying to meet such challenges head on. Let's think outside the square and grab new business opportunities with both hands.
We're very pleased to welcome new WECA co-ordinator Levinia Paku, who many members will know from her former student placement role at the University of Waikato. We hope to catch up with many of you at our first event of the year on 10th March. Read on for your invitation and information about our new sponsor, affiliate member and the lovely Levinia.Read more
WECA Update December 2015
Another good year for WECA was celebrated at the recent AGM, which highlighted achievements, events, connections and collaborations of the past year.
The success of previous years has been bolstered by an introductory membership drive, bringing in a number of new member companies, along with some new affiliate memberships.
It's great that WECA events continue to be well supported by Wintec, University of Waikato, TENZ teachers and industry, with highlights including the Waikato Careers Expo, Engineering for Educators at the Gallagher Group and a tour of Millennium Plastics.Read more
WECA Update November 2015
WECA Update August 2015
WECA Update June 2015
WECA Update May 2015
Awards shine spotlight on young industry stars
Excellence in industry training will be recognised this month at the 12th annual Gallagher Rotary Industry Awards.
The awards have grown from small beginnings to include eight Waikato businesses keen to reward employees demonstrating excellence, commitment and skill in their industry.
The collar-and-tie event shines the spotlight on employees in the engineering, plastics, construction, plumbing, manufacturing and personnel management fields.
Real-world connections for technology educators
More than 60 people attended this year’s Engineering for Educators, an annual Waikato Engineering Careers Association event encouraging technology teachers to rub shoulders with industry leaders and to visit a high-tech engineering business.
WECA members, affiliates and educators turned out to GEA Avapac in Hamilton for the 2014 event, giving them a glimpse of the “under the radar” company’s state-of-the-art premises and workshop filled with projects in various stages of completion.
WECA praised by Business NZ chief
New Zealand businesses need to think "micro-micro niche" to be competitive in the global economy. That was the word from BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly at a recent WECA event.
More than 60 WECA members and other business leaders turned out to hear Phil speak at the event, hosted in partnership with affiliate member Waikato Innovation Park.Read more
Alliances Bring Waikato Engineering Careers to Life
Collaboration between Waikato engineers and educators is being upheld as a New Zealand model helping meet sector skills shortages.
Waikato Engineering Careers Association (WECA) co-ordinator Mary Jensen said the region’s engineers and educators are among the best organised in New Zealand in workingtogether to combat sector skills shortages.
HBHS students flock to WECA stand
Waikato engineering careers were a hot topic among hundreds of students and parents at the recent Hamilton Boys' High School careers expo.
Students turned out in droves to find out more about working in the buoyant and diverse engineering sector.
It seems there’s a growing awareness among students and parents that engineering jobs are stable, interesting, well paid and a good choice for a life-long career.
WECA Update April 2015
WECA Update December 2014
WECA Update August / September 2014
WECA Update - November 2014
WECA Update - Archives
WECA Update February 2015
New approach to employer-assisted work visas
Public consultation is underway on a new approach to employer-assisted work visas and regional workforce planning.
Click here for the full document from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.Read more