New Zealand’s public and private building sectors have joined forces in a bid to attract UAE construction talent to facilitate an estimated $88.4bn (NZD125bn) of infrastructure works over the next decade.

The LookSee Build NZ campaign aims to attract more than 56,000 construction professionals to New Zealand, 2,200 of whom will occupy senior roles.

In addition to its infrastructure plans, the country is embarking on its largest ever housing development programme, which will see 100,000 new homes built during the next three years.

Craig West, general manager for network maintenance and civil construction at engineering and infrastructure management company, Downer NZ, the campaign has identified the UAE as a global hotspot for construction talent.

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“Our construction sector is very competitive, and this kind of inter-industry cooperation has never happened before,” he said. “But the need for staff requires us to take an all-of-industry approach. We’ve united to solve a big problem for all of us, and we’ve come to the UAE because that is where some of the best global construction talent is.”

LookSee Build NZ is the first initiative wherein New Zealand’s public and private construction segments have collaborated as part of a single cause. The campaign’s market research suggests that there is significant appetite among the global construction community to work in the country.

Greg Edmonds, chief infrastructure officer at Aukland Transport, commented: “We’ve conducted qualitative research into international construction industry markets, and this shows the vast majority of respondents are interested in job opportunities in New Zealand.

“More than 82% were prepared to pay their own travel, and more than half were prepared to migrate within three months,” he added, noting that those who receive jobs as a result of LookSee Build NZ will be reimbursed for their airfares.

The initiative is offering a range of “quintessential Kiwi experiences” as a means to entice construction professionals to New Zealand, according to Aaron Muir, principal at construction management consultancy, Muir & Associates.

“There’s a whole range of experiences we’re offering as part of the deal – fishing, surfing and canoeing, cultural events, the chance to see stunning sites of natural beauty – that will give prospective migrants a taste of what to expect if they choose to live in New Zealand,” he explained.

LookSee Build NZ is looking to recruit a diverse range of construction professionals, including project managers; supervisors; civil, traffic, roading, and tunnel engineers; commercial managers; quantity surveyors; design managers; structural engineers; and draughtspeople.

The construction recruitment campaign includes a consortia of government organisations, local authorities, and private companies.