Authorities seek UK workers at recruitment expos in London and Manchester to rebuild Christchurch

Authorities in New Zealand’s earthquake-hit city of Christchurch have started specifically seeking UK recruits to help in the mammoth task of rebuilding the city.

The regional Canterbury Employment and Skills Board took part in a London recruitment expo last weekend and will take part in another in Manchester over this weekend.

Up to 20,000 construction and engineering workers will be needed to rebuild Christchurch and surrounding towns and villages.

A handful of UK firms are already involved in the rebuild, including consultants Rider Levett Bucknall and John Rowan & Partners and specialist contractor McGee.
Some of the firms operating in the area have warned that the rebuild effort could be delayed because of New Zealand’s immigration laws and the time taken by insurance firms to process the thousands of claims arising from the earthquake.

Pete Hunt of UK-based construction recruitment firm Number Eight, which has set up an office in Christchurch, said: “Things are starting to pick up, but we are preparing ourselves for a surge next year after New Zealand’s elections, when the incoming government is likely to loosen immigration laws.”

Demolition specialists are well under way knocking down the 1,200 damaged buildings in the area. McGee, which has transported a 100-tonne piece of demolition equipment to New Zealand, recently signed up to a joint venture with a local firm, with a view to picking up work.

Stephen Gee of John Rowan & Partners said: “There’s a need for QSs, PMs, engineers and they’re needed straight away.”

For more on the Manchester recruitment expo, visit: