Thinking internationally and acting locally
The success of billions of dollars of rail infrastructure the government has committed to delivering over the next 10 years is reliant on a long-term holistic approach to building local capability. It requires both an investment in infrastructure and people.
A traditional solution to a skills shortage is importing specialists from around the world to bridge the gap. But several challenges come with a heavy reliance on this method alone, and sourcing and developing homegrown talent should also be a priority.
The Covid-19 global pandemic has created additional challenges to bringing people across to Aotearoa. New Zealand’s response to the pandemic has been to close our borders, and with that we’ve seen a significant drop in net migration.
But with this also comes opportunity.
The latest report from WSP and The Helen Clark Foundation, Nau Mai: Welcome Home written by Holly Walker, WSP Fellow and Helen Clark Foundation Deputy Director, explores how we can understand and tap into the potential of our offshore diaspora, attract some of them home, and prepare our infrastructure for trends in a post-pandemic future. In fact, we’ve seen the biggest net gain of New Zealand citizens, the first net gain in two decades, and more kiwis are set to return home.
With millions of New Zealanders living around the world with valuable skills, experience and expertise to share, we have a huge opportunity to welcome them home, gaining much needed experience on major rail projects such as the East London Line Extension, Sydney Metro City and Southwest, Doha Metro, Crosslink in London and Melbourne Metro Tunnel.
We can also leverage the knowledge of international experts by creating an online workforce. At WSP, we regularly tap into our pool of technical specialists worldwide to test our thinking and come up with solutions to complex problems. Through technology, there is no reason why someone who lives in the UK can’t consult on a project in Aotearoa.