Rotorua business looks to fill New Zealand's shortage of crane operators

Thanks to Covid-19 closing the nation's borders, meeting New Zealand's massive shortfall in crane operators has been a tall order, but one Rotorua business is helping out by training up locals. 

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Thanks to Covid-19 closing the borders, meeting the nation’s shortfall of crane operators has been a tall order. Source: 1 NEWS

QJ Ohia owns his own company and set up New Zealand Crane Academy.

Its first intake saw 100 people apply for just 10 positions.

“Any business owner can offer a job. We're looking to offer career pathways and the difference is long term — the ability to grow and make a lot of money for themselves and their families and the industry that they're part of,” Ohia told 1 NEWS.

Experienced operators can earn more than $100,000 a year.

Nationally, New Zealand is training just 200 crane operators and there’s a chronic shortage.

Government funding means training's now free.

The move has made a difference, but the industry says immigration still has to plug the short-term gaps.