CarmichaelUK Regional Manager, Jennie on working in New Zealand

Ellena Tangi

April 20, 2018

A lifestyle based on a balance between work and leisure, fantastic weather and even better scenery, there’s plenty more reasons to up-sticks and move to New Zealand. What’s even better is that their construction and engineering industry is booming! Auckland was also ranked as the world’s third-best city in Mercer’s Quality of Living survey. We spoke to fellow our Kiwi & Regional Manager for the North, Jennie Porter about working in NZ.

  1. Hi Jennie, please can you tell us a bit about you? What’s your background?

I grew up in Blenheim which is a town in the region of Marlborough, in the northeast of the South Island. The area is well known for its wineries! I completed my surveying degree from Otago University then headed up to Taupo to obtain my Cadastral Survey license.

  1. What were you doing before you moved to the UK and why did you move?

Before moving to the UK, I was loving life in Taupo (living by the lake, loads of sports – netball, mountain biking, snowboarding) and my work was awesome! I spent my day’s surveying thermal power station, golf courses and lakeside subdivisions.  I decided to head to the UK as all of my mates were either already in the UK (and working through CarmichaelUK) or thinking of starting their OE, so I obtained a working holiday visa and headed over. The initial plan was to work in London for a year, then do a ski season on the way back to NZ, but 12 years on I’m still in the UK!

  1. What’s it like to work in the construction and engineering industry in New Zealand?

The NZ construction industry is definitely more hands-on with main contractors. There’s not a lot of sub-contracted packages and labour. The majority of construction and engineering professionals are permanently employed and are expected to be commercially aware and hands on. Surveyors tend to work for Survey Consultancies and ‘consult’ to projects. The construction site is a tight-knit community, everyone knows everyone which makes it a really nice, supportive environment to work in. Of course, we can’t forget the weather! Winters in NZ aren’t as harsh as in the UK, our summers are predominantly sunny and warm, with the odd shower (when it rains, it pours though!)

  1. Is there a lot going on in the industry in New Zealand at the moment?

YES! It’s a great time for the construction industry in NZ, there’s lots going on and even more in planning!  A few things that are going on are:

Christchurch Rebuild – Rebuilding the city after the earthquakes in 2010 & 2011

SH1 Kaikoura – Highways improvements and rebuilding after 2016 earthquake

Major highway upgrades – Auckland/ Wellington & other cities

Geothermal power – Upcoming Developments. Geothermal power provides approx. 16% of the country’s electricity. Due to sitting on two active tectonic plates, New Zealand is in a prime position to extract geothermal energy.

Railways – Developments, Improvements, and Upgrades

The green light has also just been given for a $600m sewerage tunnel in Auckland – NZ’s the equivalent of the Thames Tideway in London.

  1. How can people kick off the moving process? Do they need visas etc.?

You’ll need a visa to work in New Zealand; employers would normally have the facility to obtain visas. The government has made it remarkably easy for professionals whose occupations are on the skills shortage list to move and work.  Also, returning Kiwis are high in demand!

  1. 6. Why would you live and work in NZ?

Oh, this is an easy one! Lifestyle! Lifestyle!

I wouldn’t work in the main city – I would go back to a regional town, where my commute to work would be a 10-minute bike ride in the morning sunshine, with a flat white from my local coffee cart in town – ah!

Also, the weather! There’s so much to do in both the winter and summer, plenty of outdoor activities for all ages, schools are very sports and outdoors orientated.  

  1. Do construction workers need to transfer their skills and certificates? 

The law in New Zealand requires you to register with a professional body to do certain types of work, similar to the UK’s CSCS card system.

A good place to start is by going to NZQA Website to check if your skills can be recognized and transferred.

  1. How can CarmichaelUK help?

Interested? Call me! We’ve placed many workers in New Zealand, and we’ve placed even more workers from New Zealand to high profile projects in the UK. Get in touch by calling 0208 522 8888 or send an email to newzealand@carmichaeluk.com.