business central april 2022 - click here to view

ucol apprenticeship scheme

bridge works for te-ahu a turanga-manawatu tararua highway alliance




UCOL Apprenticeship Scheme

From left Reagan Shaw, Dave Hoskins (owner of AEC), and Lachlan Harrigan in the workshop.
In close collaboration with UCOL, Ashhurst Engineering and Construction Co (AEC) are doing their part to address the shortage of qualified tradespeople in their industry. The Manawatu-based company has shown its commitment by supporting five of its team of nineteen trade staff through an apprenticeship scheme managed by UCOL.

AEC’s owners Gill and Dave Hoskin say the partnership with UCOL means they are relieved of the management of the programme. “We don’t have to ‘wield the big stick’, collate results, teach in the ‘classroom’ or do the related paperwork; a totally independent party does that for us,” says Gill.

UCOL Trade Lecturers Stu Coxon and Ray Banks liaise with AEC and meet regularly with Gill and Dave to give them the students’ results, keep them up to date and plan ahead. Stu says from a lecturer/trainer’s point of view, working alongside Gill and Dave is a pleasure. “Their commitment to the training of engineering apprentices and the support they give them is brilliant. They see the need for skilled workers within the engineering industry and are actively making a huge contribution in addressing this issue.”

Most of AEC’s prospective apprentices start as labourers. “And if the fit is right, they are offered apprenticeship opportunities,” says Gill. An apprenticeship takes four years or a minimum of 8000 hours to complete. The trainees undertake specific skills at work as part of the evidence-based practical component of their programme, and their senior staff at AEC sign off on the completion of the task.

Lachlan Harrigan and Reagan Shaw are both in their third year of their respective apprenticeships at AEC and say the connection with UCOL is very positive. Lachlan, who is working in Heavy Fabrication towards a NZ Certificate in Engineering Fabrication (Trade) Level 4, says he enjoys the UCOL night classes as they are motivating and give rise to some healthy competition. “You don’t want to get behind in your course work.”

Reagan, who is a Machinist agrees, adding, he likes the social and group dynamic, especially at Block Courses where you are working independently, but for the same outcome. He is studying towards a NZ Certificate in Mechanical Engineering Level 4.
Both Lachlan and Reagan say they love the variety that comes with their jobs at AEC, getting out on work sites and being involved in both big and small projects, and getting a qualification at the same time.

AEC’s association with UCOL began four years ago and Gill and Dave say they are more than satisfied with its outcomes in providing learning support in an industry ‘crying out’ for well-trained tradespeople.

They are one of 21 businesses spanning from Whanganui to Horowhenua who train, in total, 44 apprentices in UCOL managed Trade apprenticeships. Businesses are presently entitled to apply for a government funded Apprenticeship Boost Scheme and many are training multiple apprentices in different years of their trade.
With intakes in July and February, this NZ Certificate trade programme is eligible for fees-free study under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund until 31 December 2022.

Bridge Works For Te-ahu A Turanga-manawatu Tararua Highway Alliance


When it came to the manufacture and installation of pile casings for the Parahaki Bridge project, the Te Ahu a Turanga-Manawatu Tararua Highway Alliance, did not have to look far.

With its fully equipped workshop and highly qualified welding staff based a mere 5 kilometres away; AEC was the perfect choice.

The 312m Parahaki Bridge is part of the new $620M highway replacing the SH3 Gorge Road, which was closed by major slips in April 2017.

Earlier in the project, AEC was was involved in the assembly of a temporary bridge used as a platform to allow construction of the Parahaki bridge.

Welding Pile Casings

For this stage around 30 pile casings of 710mm to 760mm in diameter were required. These were made up of two smaller, previously used casings provided by the client which AEC staff then welded together.

For the bridge proper, AEC has completed joins to produce a total of 24 pile casings, eight for each of three piers. Each welded pile casing join took around two days to complete.

At over two metres in diameter and 24 metres in length, the massive 24 tonne casings were lifted out of the workshop with AEC’s 50T and 10T Gantry cranes onto a truck and transported to site.

Pile casings on siteSpecialist contractors drive the casings into the riverbed and once at the desired depth, reinforcing is dropped inside and then filled with concrete.

In addition to the casings, AEC’s talented ISO 9606:1:2017 qualified staff have also assisted in welding the coffer dam jig onsite while the Manawatu Riverbed was dry, using the company’s portable welder and generator.

Further jobs on this project have included fabricating lifting rings and a lift device for the pile reinforcement, headstock beams, a pile gate and grated pile gate cover.

Heading to site

Dave Hoskin, AEC’s Managing Director, says;

“We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Te Ahu a Turanga-Manawatu Tararua Highway Alliance and its contractors, on this stage of the new highway. Clear communication and good planning have been key to our successful working relationship, and we would be happy to assist them in any future projects.”

Author: Leigh Dome



The November 2016 Kaikoura magnitude 7.8 earthquake caused widespread damage to the road and rail corridor 20km North and South of the Kaikoura township. The highly fractured Grey Wacke rockstructure meant frequent future rockfalls were expected.

The NCTIR (North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery) Alliance was tasked with reinstating this damaged coastal corridor and re-connecting the communities of the South Island. A 104-metre-long self-cleaning canopy was installed. The Geobrugg SCC500 Canopy system was developed and selected due to its ability to self-clean and withstand multiple rockfall impacts up to 500kj before requiring maintenance.

The specific system has 13 posts ranging from 10 to 15 metres in length, anchored 6 metres above the road. With already having a longstanding business relationship, Ashhurst Engineering & Construction (AEC) had the pleasure of being asked by Geobrugg to fabricate and supply the posts and base plates for this project.

The Kaikoura Rockfall Canopy project was completed in June 2021. Designing and constructing the Southern Hemispheres first rockfall canopy is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all this involved.

Photos and information courtesy of the NCTIR Rockfall Canopy Team


We now have an EV charging station on site that is available for public use, at no cost. This is owned by Meridian Energy and is located at Ashhurst Engineering & Construction, 83-87 York Street Ashhurst.

Connectors available: 4 x 22kW AX chargers. Two dual socketed 22kW AC charging stations. BYO cable.

This charging station can be found listed on the Waka Kotahi location map for the Manawatu-Whanganui region.

Did you know that there are currently over 30,000 EVs registered in New Zealand and that number will only grow with the offer of Clean Car discounts and the fluctuating price of fuel. Ashhurst Engineering has its own sign written EV vehicle – a Nissan Leaf - you may have seen it driving around the village.


83-87 York Street
Ashhurst 4810
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(06) 326 8040


606 Halswell Junction Road
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(03) 242 0525


19 Matai Street
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(07) 929 8539
Email: info@aec1989.co.nz
PO Box 14, Ashhurst, 4847