“All of a sudden a lot of people developed an interest in bitumen and chipseal and there was no shortage of offers to accompany the tutor on the trip,” she joked.
Bespoke offshore programme delivery is nothing new at WITT Te Pūkenga with kaimahi coordinating courses in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Norfolk Island and East Timor over the years.
“This is our third stint delivering training in Tonga and it is something we’re proud to be able to do for our neighbours in the South Pacific,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Acting Director Engineering, Energy and NZIHT Jill Warner.
The short courses that were run in Tonga have the same content as those run for New Zealand clients, although surfacing technologies need to be adapted to the local situations when it comes to actually doing the roading work.
“Over the years we’ve worked with a variety of clients and had a hand in training thousands of people throughout New Zealand and offshore,” says Jill
On this occasion, the client was the Land Transport Division of the Ministry of Infrastructure in Tonga. Courses they requested to be run included Bitumen Basic Safety, Bitumen Plant and Tanker Operator, Bitumen Sprayer Operator, Chipseal Materials and Chipseal Design.
Tonga's infrastructure has suffered massively over the last few years with the effects of Cyclone Gita in 2018 and more recently the huge volcanic eruption in the Ha'apai Group, (the islands to the north of the main island of Tongatapu) and the resulting devastating tsunami.
“Training local staff to improve their levels of expertise is an integral part of improving Tonga’s infrastructure resilience,” says Jill.