Training Kiwis for the construction industry using state of the art simulators

With significant numbers of newly unemployed and a civil construction industry set to boom, the future of training is brand new, state of the art simulation technology. Piritahi is training people this way right now to help deliver the earthworks and infrastructure for NZ’s largest ever urban redevelopment programme. The technology will assist Piritahi with its ability to rapidly mobilise, deliver more work faster, and support the recovery of NZ’s economy.
Training Manager, Nathan taking trainee, Alex through simulator programme.

Civil construction company and alliance participant, Hick Bros Group, has invested in three state of the art training simulators from Caterpillar (CAT). With a cab and controls set up exactly like that of the five heavy machines they simulate, they use software and virtual reality to assess a candidate’s baseline capability, train them how to operate the equipment and test their performance in a safe, rapid and standardised way. All before even stepping foot on a construction site.

Training in this way removes the need to learn on real machines best utilised by skilled workers carrying out productive earthworks. The health and safety benefits are significant, as are the costs saved with the elimination of on the job learning ‘fails’ that commonly cause damage to highly valuable machines. “With unemployment predicted to increase, and an already under-resourced construction industry expected to receive additional government investment, these simulators have enormous potential to expedite the training and upskilling of workers to meet industry demands”, says interim Alliance General Manager, Mat Tucker.

The simulators are currently set up in a dedicated training facility in Auckland’s North Shore and are being used to onboard new staff. Feedback from trainees has been positive with Training Manager, Nathan Seay, attesting to the simulators being "as close to the real thing as you can get"

Diggers are one of the many simulated machines at the training facility.

Training in this new way will enable Piritahi to rapidly mobilise and continue to scale up, delivering the increasing range of land development and infrastructure projects within Kainga Ora - Homes and Communities large-scale urban redevelopments. With active construction sites in Northcote, Mangere, Mt Roskill, Ōwairaka and Oranga, reducing the time taken to assess and train workers, as well as eliminating the need to use actual machines, will get more people into jobs and a career path full of opportunities, faster.

Piritahi will deliver over $1b worth of land development and civil infrastructure over its lifetime, laying the groundwork for thousands of new homes, both state and private. If you're interested in joining the industry, visit the careers section of our website, call 09 303 2025 or email

Check out this story by 7 Sharp featuring two of our operators to learn more!