Watercare opens award-winning training facility

17 October 2018


We have officially opened our award-winning training centre where maintenance staff master the ins and outs of working on Auckland’s water and wastewater networks.
 
The training centre in Māngere was the recipient of the Veolia Health and Safety Innovation Award at the Water New Zealand Awards last month (September). It’s believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand.
 
It was opened on 17 October with a ribbon “ripping” ceremony, where the ribbon was ripped apart by two excavator machines.

Staff at the training centre opening.
Staff at the training centre opening.
 
Built on an existing Watercare site near the Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant, the facility includes a training ground complete with a live water reticulation network, mini wastewater network, a residential façade and typical streetscape.
 
Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram says the new facility demonstrates our commitment both to the health and safety of our staff, and to improving customer service.
 
“Our in-house maintenance team and our contractors at Downer and Citycare are responsible for maintaining more than 17,000 kilometres of water and wastewater pipes in Auckland.
 
“When pipes bust, they fix them. When we have wastewater overflows, they clear the blockages and clean up the mess. It’s work that is vital for the health of our communities. And sometimes, working in streets with traffic hazards and underground power services, can be risky work.
 
“To have a purpose-built training facility, where new recruits can master the core skills of the job without any fear of disrupting services to our customers, is a wonderful improvement.”
 
Previously, new staff were paired up with a colleague and trained on the job. They now take part in a 10-day intensive training course at the centre, which focuses on our safety culture and how to perform the work safely, using a wide range of equipment.
 
Watercare Maintenance Services Networks manager Chris Kinley says the facility has been a work in progress for the past year.
 
“We actually used the construction of this training zone as a training exercise itself. One of our first groups of trainees laid the water network, while later groups laid the concrete for the streetscape.
 
“We’re already noticing an increase in both confidence and competence from our new recruits who have gone through training here. And we’ve seen a significant reduction in our injury rate – down 40 per cent year on year.

“Winning the Veolia Health and Safety Innovation Award at the Water New Zealand Awards last month was a really proud moment for all our staff who contributed to this training centre.”
 
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