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Yesterday’s announcement by Government to add deckhands and skippers to the transport sector agreement has been applauded by Fullers360.

Fullers360 CEO, Mike Horne, says the changes will bring direct and positive impacts to ferry operators across the country.

“Over the last 18 months Fullers360, alongside associated industry partners, have advocated for an improved residency pathway option for skilled maritime workers. We are pleased that internationally qualified skippers and deckhands will soon be added to the transport sector agreement, which will help to address the critical labour shortage that has taken its toll on businesses across New Zealand.

“We look forward to seeing the final details of the agreement, with implementation expected to begin from late May.”

Horne says that while changes won’t happen overnight, there is no doubt that this announcement will help ensure maritime ferry operators are better equipped to deliver services during peak travel periods in the future.

“Fullers360, alongside other travel and tourism operators, has been impacted by the industry-wide skill shortage. This has been particularly challenging for our business over the summer period due to a corresponding increase in demand for our services.

“Fullers360’s domestic and international recruitment efforts are ongoing, including engagement with potential candidates from international markets for some time now. We expect the Government’s changes will support the recruitment of critical staff and speed up the process to have them actively employed and onboard our ferries.”

In the meantime, Fullers360 will continue its business-led initiatives, which include ongoing work with immigration partners and registered maritime training providers to recruit talent from South Africa and the Philippines to fast-track the recruitment of deckhand, skipper and bus driver roles.

For international candidates who complete Fullers360’s recruitment process, the business will cover the qualification conversion costs per applicant, which includes two one-day virtual training sessions before their arrival.