Tue 10 Oct 2017

WITT pushes business training message

WITT has a preference for shopping local when it recruits.

So when it sought to fill the new position of Executive Director, WITT Commercial, it was no surprise to see a familiar name appointed.

Brian Souness has spent 20 years in Taranaki and since 2014 he has been Segment Manager, Oil & gas at Beca Amec Ltd.

From November 6 he will be pushing the buy-local theme when he starts a round of calls to what will be names and companies he knows well in the province.

WITT is ramping up its training arm to better meet the needs of companies in the province, including some which now look to train their staff through providers out of the district.

He has set a target of lifting WITT’s presence in that commercial training market by 10 to 15 percent and is excited at the prospect.

“We will be taking a holistic view of training and we won’t be restricted by government funding or the requirements of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority,” he said. “It will be an opportunity to slice and dice – to provide a really flexible delivery which is built to suit the needs of the company.”

He does not expect to see any reluctance to invest in training as a consequence of the economic downturn.

“I do think the downturn has bottomed out – but regardless, while lots of people say training is the first thing that goes in bad times, the fact is forward-thinking companies do not adopt that approach. If anything, in difficult times getting the right training delivered in the right area is even more valuable and important.”

“Taranaki is populated by some of our biggest companies – such as Fonterra and Methanex  – and I will be looking at how we can build programmes which best suit them.”

Brian, whose community contributions in Taranaki have included a stint as president of the New Plymouth West Branch of Rotary and a trustee of BeSafe Taranaki, came to the province in 1996 from his native Scotland. His first role here was as Business Services/Relationship Manager for Wells Instrument and Electrical. He spent 13 years as Business Manager then Chief Executive of the Engineering Taranaki Consortium before joining Beca.

WITT chief Barbara George said she was impressed by Brian Souness’ energy and passion for the potential of the region, its young people and employment.

“He will fit in well at WITT as a dynamic leader looking to challenge the status quo and forge new partnerships with old friends.

“Nau mai haere mai ki te whanau Brian!”

Picture: Brian Souness will be making calls for WITT from November 6.