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Unison joins forces with Connexis to bring iconic industry event to Hawke’s Bay

Unison crews demonstrating the variety of skills that will be tested at the competition.

Unison is delighted to be confirmed as Hosting Sponsor for the 2019 Annual Connection Competitions and Excellence Awards being held at the Hawke’s Bay Sports Park from 24-26 September 2019.

Organised by Connexis, the Infrastructure Industry Training Organisation, the Annual Connection competition is the highlight of the Energy Industry calendar with teams of line mechanics and cable jointers coming from all around New Zealand to compete at the yearly event.

“This competition provides an opportunity to showcase the best and brightest in the industry, with crews demonstrating high quality workmanship, technical knowledge, best workplace practice and exceptional safety practices” said Charles Kaka, Chief Executive, Unison Contracting Services Ltd.

The events are hotly contested by electricity supply teams from all around New Zealand and features three days of intense competitions for cable jointers and line mechanics. Challenges include a pole top rescue, team building and first aid competitions, as well as a pit rescue and spike gun event.

“Unison has a proud history of achievement at the competition winning in 2015 and 2016 and coming second place in 2017. The competition has put Unison Contracting Services Limited (UCSL) on the map as one of New Zealand’s top lines contractors.

“This event gives line mechanics and cable jointers the opportunity to test their abilities to carry out jobs safely and efficiently, while under the close scrutiny of experienced judges and the pressure of the time clock. This experience at the national level will be invaluable to everyone competing” said Mr Kaka.

“Unison is excited to be sponsoring this well-known event. We want to work with local groups and schools to get as many people as possible along to see our lines teams at work and showcase what they do, day in day out, to keep the power on. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce electricity safety messages to our community, while encouraging more local women and men to consider careers in the electricity supply industry.
“We greatly appreciate the Hawke’s Bay Sports Park providing the venue, so we can host this competition in our region and bring teams from across New Zealand to compete” said Unison’s Relationship Manager, Danny Gough.
Sports Park CEO, Jock Mackintosh said the park is looking forward to working with Unison and Connexis to host the unique event. “We always get great feedback from those from outside the Bay. They love visiting the region and when we do surveys, they always give the venue a very high rating.”
The three-day event also incorporates a Supplier Expo and concludes with the Annual Connection Awards Dinner – where winners are announced including the Excellence Awards winners for the Electricity Supply and Telecommunications Industries. Finalists compete for honours in five categories:

• Distribution Trainee of the Year,
• Telecommunications Trainee of the Year,
• Investing in Youth Training and Development,
• Generation Trainee of the Year and
• Advanced Trainee of the Year

Winners from the Distribution, Telecommunication, Generation and Advanced categories will also be eligible for the Overall Trainee of the Year. That person will be named the industry ambassador for the next 12 months.
Connexis’ Group Manager Customer Engagement Kaarin Gaukrodger says, “The event is a valuable industry event and demonstrates the skills and expertise of these workers who keep New Zealand’s power supply up and running. People take it for granted that their lights will work and that they have power to heat their home and cook meals but sometimes due to storms, snow, floods or even car accidents taking out power poles the power is temporarily cut off.
“This is where these power crews swing into full action, keeping New Zealand on the grid and up and operating.”
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