WECA member's update - February
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WECA update 

Hello <<First Name>>,

What a great summer we are having and it's been excellent to hear the year has started well for many of our members. 

We hope to see to you at our first event for the year, at Good Neighbour in Rototuna on Thursday, March 26, from 4.30pm. We're encouraging you to bring along a friend in engineering/manufacturing to this one as part of our 2015 membership drive. 

We all win when membership numbers are up so we are offering Introductory Memberships to give newbies and returning members the chance to see the many benefits of belonging to WECA. We're pleased to welcome back Hendl and Murray and new introductory members PFS Engineering and MRP Engineering. 

We think active and existing members will agree that WECA membership is a no-brainer for engineering businesses in our region. Our combined effort is a powerful way to promote, contribute to and grow talent within our sector. To refresh you of the ways WECA works on your behalf, see the list of our key activities further down the newsletter.

In this month's update:

•    WECA Event: Be a good neighbour
•    Job Board turns up talent for WECA member

•    WECA member opens doors to support students
Introductory memberships
•    Welcome to introductory members
•    Key WECA activities
•    Young Engineers hits Hamilton
•    New supercapacitor surge protector hits market
•    A word from WECA sponsors

It's shaping up to be a great year. We look forward to catching up with you soon. 

All the best,


Mary Jensen,  WECA manager

WECA thanks sponsors:


WECA Event: Be a Good Neighbour

We're inviting you to be a Good Neighbour to your fellow engineers by bringing them along to our first WECA event of the year.

This will be a time to catch up, have a cold one and hear about Good Neighbour's Smart Brew System for creating craft beer and cider with a local, award-winning flavour. 

WHEN:           Thursday March 26, 4.30pm to 6.30pm
WHERE:         Good Neighbour, Hukanui Rd, Rototuna, Hamilton
COST:            $20 per person
INCLUDES:     Beer and cider tasters (five varieties) and nibbles (non-alcoholic options available)

RSVP today


Job Board turns up talent for WECA member

A Job Board distributed directly to Waikato careers and Gateway teachers has been a successful tool for WECA's Len Guildford, of Thorburn Engineering.

Len recently hired former Hamilton Boys’ High student Daniel Rollo as a light fabrication apprentice after advertising the role on Smart Waikato's FAN Youth Job Board, a member-only forum sending youth work opportunities directly to educators and work brokers.

WECA members can advertise youth vacancies for free on the board, a private forum to match talented youth to workplace opportunities, including work experience, internships, cadetships, apprenticeships or employment.

“We had lots of applicants for the job and the thing that set Daniel apart was that he was specifically interested in light fabrication. Many of the others were just interested in getting a job,” Len says.

Len sees the job board as a way to connect with educators directly to tell them what sort of staff member he is looking for. Employing young staff and using the job board is part of Len’s long-term strategy to grow a skills-base within his small and growing business.

Thorburn Engineering employs 12 staff including Daniel, who is commencing a light fabrication apprenticeship.
Do you have a youth workplace opportunity?
This could include work experience, internships, cadetships, apprenticeships or employment. Advertise it on the FAN Youth Job Board for free.

Email to be emailed the FAN Job Board form.

WECA member opens doors to support students

Stainless Design opens it doors to students by providing premises for trainee engineers to participate in a weekly study group.

The group is a Competenz-funded initiative through the Open Polytechnic designed to help engineering students work through course material in a relaxed environment, surrounded by supportive people. 

Scott Pritchard, Stainless Design’s fabrication trainer, works with Competenz to provide mentoring for students to assist them in complete their learning material.

“We don’t provide them with the answers, we work with them to develop the learning process so they can solve the problems themselves. This is about contributing to the talent pool by increasing skills for the big picture. It's just another way we can assist with training for industry," Scott says.

Tutoring is held every Wednesday, from 6pm to 8pm, in the lunchroom at Stainless Design, 17 Kaimiro St, Hamilton.


Introductory WECA memberships

More members mean more value for all WECA businesses, with introductory memberships designed to boost numbers and give businesses the opportunity to see the many benefits of belonging for a reduced investment. 

Normal annual membership fees apply when renewing at the end of the financial year.
If you know of a business who may be interested in an Introductory Membership please email

Welcome to introductory members:

PFS Engineering

PFS Engineering was established in 1992. The primary objective of the company was to provide a quality fabrication services team for the engineering industry at large.  Since then PFS has expanded significantly within New Zealand and Australia and is able to provide clients end to end engineering solutions from concept, design, fabrication, installation and commissioning.   

Located in Riverlea Road PFS has extensive fabrication facilities with dedicated stainless, heavy engineering and machine shops.  PFS has a number of large site crews specialising in overland pipe lines for the geothermal industry, boiler refurbishment for the pulp & paper industry, dairy and poultry installations for the food processing industry.

MRP Engineering

MRP Engineering is a general engineering business focused on quality workmanship.

Merv Pearson established the one-man operation at Matangi a decade ago and has joined WECA to keep his finger on the pulse of the engineering industry. MRP manages several maintenance contracts and was involved in the development and design of the pest-proof fencing at Maungatautari Ecological Island.

“I’m looking forward to meeting other members and getting involved.”
Hendl & Murray Engineering Ltd

Hendl & Murray Engineering Ltd is a privately owned and operated company established in Hamilton in 1976. HME offers clients innovative and economical solutions.

HME has grown from a small engineering business servicing local dairy factories within the Waikato region to its current status as one of Australasia's leading multi-disciplined stainless and carbon steel fabrication fabricators within the dairy, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The company has about 40 staff.

Key WECA activities

Most WECA members are familiar with our mission and are involved in our activities. We have outlined these below for new members and as a refresher for everyone:

WECA's Mission: To provide Waikato employers with a sustainable flow of engineering trainees and job seekers that are skilled to meet the current and future needs of the engineering industry.

• Creates linkages between Waikato students, educators* and WECA companies

• Regular networking meetings at engineering companies and feature speakers on
key industry topics

• Facilitates work experience and industry placements for pre-apprentices,
apprentices, technicians, technologists and professionals

• Represents WECA companies at economic development level, both in the
development of the Waikato Economic Development Strategy & central Government

• New-look monthly newsletters to members and educators (featuring key industry
news, member success stories, events, photos and more)

• Highly functional WECA website (including member profiles, media releases, event
photos, newsletter archives, engineering pathways, video and more)

• Develops collaborative and effective written and electronic promotional media to
promote Waikato engineering careers

• Simplifies pathways between Waikato schools, engineering training and work

• Represents and co-ordinates WECA companies at Careers Expos, with an audience of
many thousands of secondary school students and their parents

• Represents members at regional employment / skills forums

• Profiles WECA in Waikato secondary school careers resource Futureforce
Waikato magazine

*school technology and engineering teachers, gateway co-ordinators, careers advisors,
tertiary education institutions, private training providers, industry training organisations.
Young Engineers hits Hamilton

A new after school club based on teaching children basic principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Physics by building motorised Lego models kicks off in Hamilton this month.

WECA co-ordinator Sally Birch was so impressed with the concept she has enrolled her nine-year-old daughter Rebekah and will keep us posted with her progress.

Children build a range of models at the programme including a racing car, pirate ship and conveyor belt. "What a great way to teach younger children the analytical skills needed for basic engineering processes," Sally says.

Developed in Israel, Young Engineers is taught in more than 13 countries around the world and in Hamilton is available in both English and Te Reo Maori.

Click here to find out more.

New supercapacitor surge protector hits market

A supercapacitor-based surge protector, the S-TViQ, invented by University of Waikato senior electrical engineering lecturer Nihal Kularatna, has made it to commercialisation.

Following a three-year research and development partnership, a license deal has been established with Thor Technologies, an Australian manufacturer of power protection and management products. Thor worked with the University of Waikato and WaikatoLink to develop and commercialise the supercapacitor-based surge protection product, which is now on the market.

Read full story here.


What's the latest??

Keep us posted with your company news and photos and you might see yourself in the next WECA newsletter. We're interested in your achievements, key appointments, awards and anything else of note.

Email items, ideas or photo for consideration to


A word from WECA sponsors:

VO2 Webdesign

VO2 is proud to be a sponsor of WECA and values the importance of providing assistance to young people in their search for suitable long term career opportunities. As well as the recent WECA website upgrade, we have recently produced a wide range of websites for companies of varying size and focus, based on different content management platforms.

Highlights have been Ozone kites (, which is an international kite surfing manufacturer whose design team are based in Raglan. We partnered with them to create a breath taking fresh new website.  Another company has been Freedom Camping ( who came to us wanting a refresh for their website as they push into different countries and markets across the world and we were able to provide them a site which showcases their products and does some really clever stuff in the background.

Finally, the team at LunchOrders ( came to us to assist them with their new start-up company based here in Hamilton, providing nutritious and healthy school lunches to kids in their classroom via an online ordering system.  We designed a kids-centric website which suited their budget but allowed them to launch their business with a bang!  To view more of our recent projects visit our website at or to discuss how we can help you with your website requirements, give us a call on 0800550202.


Lawson Williams
An interesting Labour market – focus on keeping your staff now

In New Zealand the proportion of working age population already in work or actively looking for it is already at a record high of almost 70%. This compares with 65% in Australia. Tony Alexander Chief economist at the BNZ this week reported that the migration boom for now is keeping wages growth suppressed. But eventually labour availability will decline substantially and there will be a wages response. He predicts we will feel this in late 2016 through to 2017-2018.

In the engineering sector we already know that there is demand for skills and soon increasing wages will put further pressure on the market. For all companies particularly SME’s its time to focus on those other factors that keep employees engaged. Do it now and you can minimize  attrition as wages become a factor in attracting your staff to seek alternative employment.


Thanks again to WECA sponsors:


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