Keynote: The criticality of people in the sustainability of infrastructure management service delivery in New Zealand. Ross Waugh

Everyone in public works service delivery knows about the skills shortage.  It is about to get a lot worse.  The problem and the solution are found in the Maori phrase He tangata, it is the people.

It is increasingly recognised that we are facing a major Engineering skills shortage in NZ.  The reality is that this skills shortage is much wider than just engineering skills and is across the whole stack of skills needed to deliver public works services to our communities.  This is becoming a core issue in our ability to sustainably deliver public works service levels in NZ, and is projected to get progressively worse over the next decade.

This presentation and accompanying paper will review the size and breadth of the skills shortage.  An overview will be provided of the current range of education, industry and government initiatives in place to address the skills shortage.

The infrastructure management and service delivery impacts of the skills shortage will be unpacked including impacts on risks, quality, sustainability, procurement and service delivery cost. The adequacy of current responses to the industry skills shortage, the role of technology, expert systems, artificial intelligence and examination of possible additional industry responses will conclude the presentation.

Ross Waugh is the founder of Waugh Infrastructure Management and is an asset management and systems integration specialist with over 30 years’ experience in municipal infrastructure asset management and engineering.  Ross has been consulting in infrastructure management for 20 years this year, in the areas of transportation, utilities, community facilities, buildings and property.
Ross has contributed to a number of New Zealand national data capture, research, advisory, government enquiry, and infrastructure standard setting projects, and is a section author of the International Infrastructure Management Manual 2011 and 2015.
Ross has experience of seven cycles of integrating infrastructure asset management planning with long term financial planning within the New Zealand context.  He has also completed infrastructure asset management assignments in Australia and the Pacific.