Rebuild training for redundant miners

Up to 50 workers made redundant from a West Coast coalmine have started retraining to become involved in the Christchurch rebuild.

The first group of 20 miners from the Spring Creek mine today started a two-week Introduction to Civil Construction course at Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) in Greymouth. Up to another 30 will start next week.

The training is a joint venture between the polytechnic and the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt), which will pay for the training.

TPP business development director Colin McDonnell said the course would prepare the miners for job opportunities in Christchurch.

''A range of the miners' skills are transferable to the construction industry so they aren't starting from scratch but there are differences in the environment they will be working in.

''TPP looked at the base skills set the miners had and after reviewing Scirt's requirements, identified the areas where the miners need to extend their knowledge,'' McDonnell said.

Scirt general manager Duncan Gibb said the training meant the miners could be ''quickly be brought up to speed to meet the Christchurch market's specific needs".

''This is important, rewarding work and it will be needed for the horizontal infrastructure for the next four years.''

The training will cover reading and interpreting civil construction plans, operating machinery and health and safety on civil construction sites.

The Press