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Crane industry calls for help to fill operator shortage as record number of heavy-lifters dot Auckland skyline

The crane industry is calling on the Government and school leavers to help fill a shortage of operators as a record of more than 200 cranes dot the Auckland skyline.

A building boom, roads and infrastructure projects are all driving demand.

"It's a good time, but also a stressful time," Rod Auton of the Crane Association of New Zealand told 1 NEWS.

The industry is short 200 crane operators across its fleet of 1400 cranes, and that's having a knock-on effect. 

"We've got cranes parked up at the moment because we can't get the operators for them," Mr Auton said.

The industry is lobbying the Government to include crane operators on its skill shortage list for immigrants. 

The Immigration Department says crane operators don't meet the list criteria, although a review is underway.

Auckland Cranes chief executive Philip Gedye says crane operating is a skilled job.

"But it doesn't take years and years of training like a brain surgeon. It's stuff that we're happy to teach people," he said.

In the meantime the sector has developed new qualifications.

And with an ageing workforce, it's appealing directly to school leavers as a trade. 

"We think this is an exciting place for young people to come. We think it's an exciting place for anyone to come and work," Mr Gedye said.

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Businesses are now calling for help to fill jobs. Source: 1 NEWS