With the announcement of two years’ free apprenticeship training by government, combined with demand created by the America’s Cup, the NZ Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation is predicting a boom in marine jobs.
Apprenticeship training through the NZ Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation (NZMACITO) is held in high regard internationally as key to the New Zealand marine industry’s success, with current industry turnover of $1.7 billion including exports producing $800 million.
The industry says it has potential to grow exports to $1.66 billion over the next seven years on the back of the 36th America’s Cup being hosted in Auckland.
“There’s been discussion of the value of the America’s Cup and the superyacht spectators which will accompany it to New Zealand. While some people might see superyachts as just a wealthy international set visiting our shores, we – unequivocally – see it as job creation,” says the training organisation’s general manager Chris van der Hor.
“In particular, it creates opportunities for young New Zealanders from the Far North to Southland to start an apprenticeship in NZ’s highly respected marine and composites industries.”
However, that job boom is predicated on having facilities for the industry to accommodate the business which will arrive, starting next year, if the America’s Cup is hosted in Auckland.
Visits by superyachts to New Zealand form what is essentially an export market floating to our shores. The more that come, the more jobs and apprentices can be supported nationwide.
“We are already turning away superyacht work due to a lack of infrastructure to accommodate it,” adds NZMarine executive director, Peter Busfield.
“We know what the NZ marine industry is capable of; the rest of the world knows what we’re capable of – so when they come to us with enquiries for refit work, or production of tenders and support boats, let’s make sure we’ve got the ability to jump on every opportunity.”
“Not only for the sake of our shipyards but for school leavers seeking a rewarding future career, the interior designers, the rigid hulled inflatable boat builders, the naval architects, joiners and all the other myriad trades who are employed during a superyacht refit.”
Subject to Auckland hosting the Cup, 160 superyachts are expected to visit in 2020/2021. With an average spend of $2.7 million each, they have the potential to provide $436 million of foreign exchange earnings to New Zealand – if there is space to accommodate the work they will need.
“Each superyacht undergoes regular maintenance – annually – as well as a major refit every five to ten years. New Zealand is already the destination of choice for yachts to refit in the South Pacific and we need to ensure we’re ready for the rise in demand in the coming four years and beyond, which is in addition to the refit and maintenance market for commercial vessels from within New Zealand and across the Pacific,” says Craig Park, managing director of Orams Marine Ltd.
“That means having haul out facilities with deepwater access in the already established marine industry cluster in Wynyard Quarter.”
Orams Marine are ready to invest tens of millions of dollars into a new superyacht haul out yard at Site 18. Sited in Beaumont Street’s Wynyard Quarter, it will provide extra capability needed to get yachts up to 70 metres in length out of the water for serious refit and maintenance work.
“Currently we are turning down work due to lack of this infrastructure and it is going to Australia” says executive director of NZ Marine, Peter Busfield.
Van der Hor points to New Zealand’s active role in past America’s Cups which has seen New Zealand develop in the field of composites; a key sector which is now behind the America’s Cup, Rocket Lab and other innovative products.
“The $2 billion marine and composites industries give young New Zealanders the opportunity for a career where their skills are appreciated globally, where they can earn on the job and with huge scope for development. Let’s ensure we don’t keelhaul those young people by limiting growth through a lack of vision and planning for the infrastructure required.”