Human beings love to build things. Ever play with LEGO as a kid? Stack rocks at the beach? It’s instinctive, it’s in our nature.

Now, imagine getting paid to build things. While channelling that childhood quality into a money-maker may seem too good to be true, a group of students who attended the recent EPIC Day Out in the Bay of Plenty have seen the way to make it happen.

Organised by Civil Contractors New Zealand (CCNZ) Bay of Plenty Branch and Bay of Plenty civil construction companies in partnership with Priority One – a regional economic development organisation – students and Deputy Principals from local secondary schools got to witness the civil construction industry first-hand during a site-visit near Tauranga on 24 June.

From mixing concrete and seeing how a crane operates, to meeting business leaders and hearing from industry big-hitters, they were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at what the infrastructure construction sector has to offer over a five-hour tour of roles and equipment.

Calum Twist, CCNZ’s Northern Regional Manager, said the day provided an outstanding opportunity for students to experience the civil construction industry first-hand.

“It was fantastic. There is often a stigma around civil construction because of preconceptions about what it entails and the kind of people who work in it. We were able to burst these notions by showing the students the vast range of career opportunities available and getting them to meet a huge diversity of role models.

“The students had a brilliant time – some even approached the companies at the end to ask for an interview the following week. They were that keen to get started.”

Brian Perry Civil was one of the lead organisers for the day, which was well timed given the huge growth and development underway in Tauranga at the moment. Brian Perry Civil Waikato/Bay of Plenty Works Manager Michael Clayton was there on the day, telling attendees the story of how he got to where he is – from leaving school with no qualifications, to having a successful career leading a team across multiple projects throughout the central North Island.

Priority One Chief Executive Nigel Tutt said the event was a success for students and local businesses alike.

“The EPIC Day Out was hugely valuable for our region and provides a real-life link between students and potential employers. The success of initiatives like EPIC is dependent on the involvement of local businesses; the support from Civil Contractors New Zealand and Brian Perry Civil was key to making this day a success.”

New Zealand’s civil construction industry is lucrative and booming but has a shortfall of 50,000 employees.

Civil Contractors New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Silcock said that made events like the EPIC Day Out crucial.

“Events where people can get hands-on and understand the work are perfect opportunities to engage with New Zealand’s workers of the future, connecting with them in a meaningful way and showing them all the dynamic and exciting futures that are available to them.”

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