The cadet scheme is extremely successful for WSP, particularly in the regions where the company is a key partner and advisor to local and central government. Evans says it enables the company to be adaptive to changing requirements.
“Cadets are trained to fit the needs of an organisation – which for us is based on the needs of our clients. Our regional offices have materials testing laboratories, design draughting, survey and road network management teams – and cadets are able to train in these in-demand skills.”
Evans says cadetships offer significant advantages for school leavers who want to pursue a career in engineering but don’t want to go to university.
“Because they’re earning while studying, cadets aren’t faced with paying back student loans when they finish their studies. As well as getting work experience relevant to their qualification, cadets can directly see the point of the knowledge and skills they’re picking up in their course and apply it to their work.”
Traditionally cadetships have been a cornerstone of New Zealand’s civil engineering sector.
In fact, the first civil engineering cadet scheme was started by WSP’s forefathers, the Public Works Department, in 1894. The scheme eventually involved 300 – 400 cadets per year through the public sector.