The future is looking bright for twelve new Unison trainee line mechanics who strapped on their boots for the first time last week, to commence study at Unison’s Centre of Excellence.
Unison’s unique, specialist training facility is located at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Napier. The Centre offers bespoke electrical distribution training in a dedicated learning environment to lines professionals throughout New Zealand. The centre is also actively used by Unison for its wider training requirements across electrical, vegetation, civil and fibre.
January 2022 marked the Centre’s ten-year anniversary of operation.
In the decade since its opening, over 350 lines professionals have completed qualifications and refresher courses through the facility, with training delivered by dedicated Unison Trade Coaches, and through MITA Consulting Ltd.
“The successful delivery of Unison’s long-term vision is reliant on a highly skilled workforce and in its ten years, the Centre of Excellence has proven itself to be a worthy investment into the future of our business and people,” says Toby Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Unison Contracting Services Limited.
“The model of the Centre means that not only do we offer training refresher courses for current line mechanics, but we facilitate a pipeline of new talent into the industry too.
“This means our experienced line mechanics have the ability to transfer their valuable knowledge prior to retirement and the benefits of this reach much further than our organisation alone,” says Mr Davis.
Running from 1 February to May, this year’s new recruitment training entails a combination of hands-on work and theory, with trainees learning the basics of testing equipment, understanding standards, and techniques of how to climb and work safely at heights.
Mr Davis says that this year the programme’s curriculum has evolved, and now takes a holistic view of the skills required to be a line mechanic by incorporating Unison’s values into the learning module, including effective communication and teamwork.
The programme is the first component toward qualifying for the Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Electricity Supply for Distribution Line Mechanics and Cable Jointing.
Trainees are permanent, full-time employees with Unison from day one of the course. Further training will continue in the field.
“I’m extremely proud that in developing and refining our own resource through the Centre of Excellence, Unison is able to offer a diverse group of people the opportunity to grow, develop new skills, and to be part of our journey as an organisation. The benefits to our wider community are immense.
“Many of our past trainees have continued their careers with Unison and are now working in senior roles across the field,” says Mr Davis.
“The Unison Centre of Excellence has helped national company MITA Consulting Ltd deliver professional education and training programmes to students and workers in Hawke’s Bay and throughout New Zealand. The Centre has become one of our most sought-after venues for training, due to its location, modern facility and resources,” says Dave Edgar, Educational Director at MITA Consulting Ltd.
“The continuing use of the Centre helps MITA to maintain and enhance student’s skills, especially in response to changes in technology that impact the distribution industry. With the use of the Centre of Excellence we are able to continue the educational development of our students and further their opportunities to achieve their personal and career goals.”
Todd Rogers, Head of School for Trades & Technology at EIT, says that the partnership between Unison and EIT forged through the establishment of the Centre of Excellence has been positive.
“The employment pathway created through the Centre of Excellence has given some of our electrical students a fantastic opportunity to move from study at EIT into on field training with Unison.”
“It’s great having the Unison team on campus and I look forward to continuing to build on the partnership” says Mr Rogers.
Unison is currently recruiting for line mechanics across its Hawke’s Bay, Taupō, Rotorua and Dunedin depots. For information and to apply, head to our careers page.