15 Nov
15 November 2018

Manfeild Park Trust granted $2.8million to deliver national driver training project

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has today announced $2.8million of funding for the Manfeild Park Trust to develop its National Driver Training Centre.

The $2.8m Provincial Growth Fund investment will be used by the Manfeild Park Trust to develop the facility, expanding the current Class 1 driver training programme to deliver a full suite of driver training; including class 2 - 5 (heavy/commercial licences), wheels, tracks and rollers and civil construction. 

As the first facility of its kind in New Zealand, Manfeild Chief Executive Julie Keane says that the National Driver Training Centre provides a solution to many regional problems.

“Investing in driver training programmes connects local people with local trainers - providing the skills that encourage employment in key industries like infrastructure, road transport, agriculture, forestry and distribution & logistics.

“Previous research has shown that 85% percent of students in our region are leaving school without a driver's license - making it harder for our employers to find young people who have the skills they need.”

Over the past two years, the National Driver Training Centre has collaborated with schools and training providers, industry and other agencies to identify where the facility can add value.

“To date, 115 drivers have completed Defensive Driving Courses, and over 440 students from around the region are working towards obtaining their class 1 licence.” says Julie Keane. “We’ve worked very closely with education and training providers to remove barriers for young people to achieve a drivers licence, and have some wonderful success stories already.”

“There is a real demand for skilled workers, driven by major projects happening in and around the ManawatÅ«-Whanganui region – including the ManawatÅ« Gorge Road Project.”

During the announcement Minister Jones noted that this investment will ensure that more people in the region have the opportunity to gain meaningful employment.

Julie Keane says that the Manfeild Park Trust are just at the beginning of their journey as New Zealand’s premier driver training facility.

“Today is an exceptionally significant milestone for our project team, and marks the beginning of a journey that we believe will have an immense impact on our people, our industries and our region.”

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Image: (L-R) Manfeild Chief Executive Julie Keane, Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, Manfeild Park Trust Chair Gordon Smith and National Driver Training Centre project lead Michael Barbour at the site of the National Driver Training Centre.