By Catherine Lye
Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Export Communities EMA
Manufacturing in New Zealand is full of clever, practical people solving complex, challenging problems with ingenuity and relentless hard work, making something from nothing and then making it better. There is some really smart stuff being made and we have got to get better about telling the stories that will inspire the next generation and greater diversity into this incredible, innovative sector of the NZ economy.
The future of work was on display last week at the Canvas Careers Expo in Tauranga. Secondary school students saw innovation in action including high-end titanium road bikes produced through 3D Printing machinery, and the intricate and complex designs that are not possible with traditional manufacturing methods.
The EMA and seven Tauranga manufacturers collaborated in a joint effort to build awareness, shift perceptions, and raise the profile of the manufacturing sector with students, educators, parents, potential and current workers. Manufacturing offers interesting and diverse opportunities to all people.
Advanced Manufacturing has been prioritised for industry transformation due to its scale and potential to significantly increase productivity, higher wage jobs and a globally competitive low emissions sector. “Advanced” manufacturing refers to the use of modern technologies and processes, rather than whether the final products are high tech or not.
The vision of the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Transformation Plan is “a thriving Aotearoa NZ manufacturing sector of world-class creators, innovators, and makers, delivering quality products, sustainable solutions, and intergenerational well-being.”
One of the priorities developing and attracting a diverse high-skilled and high-wage workforce and showcasing the industry at events like the Canvas Careers Expo highlight the possibilities.
The EMA had the support of twenty representatives from manufacturing companies Trimax Mowing Systems, Bluelab, Powerglide Elevators, Florentines Patisserie, Bay Blinds, RAM3D and Oasis Engineering. The expertise and capability on display was incredible, ranging from a 17-year-old apprentice CNC Machinist to Product Design Engineers, Product Managers, Workshop Managers, Global Marketing Manager and Managing Directors.
When asked what they love about a career in manufacturing, it was the variety – that there is always a problem to be fixed; implementing new leading edge technologies in new ways; enabling decisions to be made quickly and finding the smartest/best way to do stuff; and to see substantial change quickly; enabling the space to be creative, alongside passionate and super-committed people who through collaboration and teamwork see an idea materialize into a final product that is sent halfway around the world!
New Zealand has some incredible engineering, design and manufacturing capability who are sought out by NZ’s leading innovators taking their products to the world.
Typical Kiwi’s, very understated, but right up there with the best.