Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
A $2.8 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help establish a national commercial driver programme near Palmerston North, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.
The programme will have the ability to train up to 700 drivers and machine operators annually at Manfeild Park.
PGF support will be used by the Manfeild Park Trust to expand their current Class 1 driver training programme to deliver a full suite of driver training, including truck, digger, 4WD, forklift and roller training. It will also support capital works required to build new training facilities at the Manfeild site, including specialist training tracks.
“There is a real demand for skilled drivers and machinery operators nationally, from the major projects happening in the Manawatu-Whanganui Region – including the Manawatū Gorge Road Project and the establishment of a new KiwiRail hub – and from the region’s expanding role as a major distribution centre for the Lower North Island,” Shane Jones said.
“We know that Manawatū-Whanganui has high levels of unemployment and underutilisation. This investment will ensure more people in the region have the opportunity to gain meaningful employment.
“This will be the most comprehensive vehicle training facility of this type in the lower North Island. This is an opportunity for the region to lead this kind of training nationally as well as well – not only locally, but nationally as well.
“Through the PGF the Government is responding to local needs, by funding projects which will make a real difference to regions and their people. The National Driver Training Centre at Manfeild is another example of this,” Shane Jones said.