Success Story - Downer

Youth 2 Work Success Stories

Downer’s holiday placements lead to full time work

Offering holiday work placements is just one of many ways that Downer demonstrates a commitment to supporting youth employment in Porirua.  

These holiday placements can lead to permanent jobs with the international infrastructure firm.

Construction Manager Graeme O’Keeffe says, “Local communities are at the heart of everything we do. Downer has a strong commitment to training because we strongly believe that training young people will help to ensure we have the right mix of people in our business in the future.”

The students tend to work on road maintenance and construction projects in the school holidays.

“They gain a range of experiences and really practical skills like first aid and health and safety requirements, all under the watchful eyes of a site foreperson and work mentor. If the holiday work is successful, the students are invited to complete a three-day Downer Basics course which sets them up with the appropriate licences and qualifications to get out into roles in our business.”

Graeme O’Keeffe says that a full-time job for holiday students is a very firm possibility. “The students that join us for the holiday programme have been selected as valuable candidates for us. We wish them every success.”

Working for a large company like Downer is a real opportunity for a school leaver says Senior Foreman Warren Kaiwai.

“We have professional development plans for all our people.  If they want to further their career they can with opportunities for civil engineering, construction management or project management. They train while they are working under the NZQA system so it’s like an apprenticeship.”

“A lot of the guys come into this industry not knowing a career path, but we do roads, parks, telecommunications, design and all sorts of other amazing things. These guys get the opportunity to be a part of that and to transfer into other departments along the way as well,” says Warren.

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