Trucking awesome: Manawatū cadet loves his new career

Published: Mar 2, 2021

Tagged with:

  • News and announcements
  • Manawatū/Whanganui

Less than two months into his new job as a truck driver, Ryan Pickering was handed the keys to a brand new, eight tonne concrete truck worth more than $200,000.

Ryan Pickering wearing a hi-vis shirt standing in front of a blue and white eight tonne Higgins concrete truck.

Ryan Pickering next to an eight tonne Higgins Concrete truck.

The Higgins Concrete employee will be the first in the company to drive the freshly minted vehicle, transporting concrete to roading projects, bridge-building works and other construction sites across the region.

“As a young fella I always wanted to drive trucks. There are still a few nerves at times but I’m really looking forward to it,” Ryan says.

The former roofer took an opportunity to pursue a new career when he returned to work after the birth of his son. Ryan says the Central Skills Hub, an employment and training connector service, helped him make the transition to his dream job.

“I attended an open day for the new highway being built through the Manawatū Gorge and met Lynette from the Central Skills Hub.

“She put me in touch with Higgins Concrete and helped me transition from the casual traffic control work I had started doing into the job as a cadet driver.”

The Central Skills Hub is supported by a $1.04 million government investment managed by the Provincial Development Unit. Funding enable the hub to connect large-scale infrastructure projects with a skilled local workforce.

Since the hub opened in July 2020, it has helped locals like Ryan find work on major projects in the region, such as the new $50 million Countdown distribution centre, the Manawatū Gorge replacement highway, and upgrades to the Air Force base in Ohakea.

Operations Manager Lynette Bailey says Ryan’s story is a great example of how skills hubs around New Zealand can help jobseekers into work.

“In a short amount of time we’ve gained real traction and formed some great connections with industry, as well as with local schools and government agencies.

“We are now running regular site visits and taster days for career seekers and we’ve been working hard to collaborate with and join the dots between different sectors of the industry.”

Find out more: 

Central Region Skills Hub — Skills in Construction