United Civil’s principles of excellence and innovation secret to success

United Civil employee
United Civil Construction Limited ensures career path for its employees following its principles of excellence and innovation.

Shelley Duke, GM of People, Culture and Compliance with United Civil Construction Limited, based in Whangarei, says one of the reasons she was attracted to the business was its unwavering commitment to its core values, which include excellence, people, integrity, innovation and collaboration.

These values serve as the guiding principles behind every project they undertake. The company’s evolution took a decisive turn in mid-2006 when United Carriers Group decided to separate its construction operations, leading to the birth of United Civil Construction Limited, or United Civil for short.

“This strategic move allowed United Civil to chart its course and specialise in construction services, including civil infrastructure, three waters, industrial infrastructure, roading and structures; setting the stage for its impressive growth and accomplishments,” Shelley explains.

United Civil employs 120 people and is led by Andrew Campbell and Paul Mandeno. Over the past 16 years, United Civil has consistently strived for excellence and innovation, a strategy Shelley says, has served the business and those working in it well.

Given the wide nature of projects, the United Civil employees tend to be multi-disciplined, giving the business the flexibility to respond nimbly when a particular project demands more human resources for some time. As a proudly Northland-based business, a lot of projects are in that region, however, Shelley says, to better serve its clients and communities, United Civil expanded its service coverage across the entire North Island.

This geographical expansion enabled the company to take on projects of greater scale and complexity, such as rebuilding a rail bridge in Hawke’s Bay, swept away when Cyclone Gabrielle impacted the region with devastating outcomes.

“We are big supporters of this wonderful region we’re based in. As much as possible, we engage local businesses on our projects while over the years, we have built strong and enduring relationships with clients.”

Shelley says United Civil is a great company for entry-level employees and more experienced alike to join.

“United Civil puts its people first and is committed to the ongoing development of all staff. What we look for is a positive attitude and behaviour that aligns with our values. Our team prides itself on efficiently delivering large, often complex civil construction projects to the highest quality, on time and within budget.”

Shelley also says it is great to be of the size and scale that offers school leavers employment and a positive career prospect ahead, as well as those who have many years of experience within the industry.

“People are one of our core values and the employee experience is important to us. A key ingredient of long-term and sustained success for any business is having great people and great teams, and we recognise that we need to continue to invest in the company’s employees.”

“We have strong links to the local community and visit schools to give presentations on the range of careers and qualifications that can be gained from working for us. It is inspiring to see more females looking to gain a career in the Civil Construction Industry.”

“We are also a corporate partner with Tai Tokerau Trades Training (TTTT) to be champions of their two programmes (EEB – Linking Students to Industry and TTTT partners with MSD to provide an employability skills programme), which also enables us to recruit cadets/apprentices via these programmes.”

Once someone new is employed they are provided with a learning programme. United Civil has new entrant career pathways, industry apprenticeships and formal qualifications, specific training and/or upskilling to support an individual’s career aspirations as well as dedicated mentoring or career support.

“Other existing programmes we are actively involved in within Northland include Mana in Mahi, Whakaahu Whakamua – Adult Work Ready Programme, Apprenticeship Boost, BCITO, MITO, Skillsorg and Connexis.”

Shelley says a good example of what is possible in terms of progressing a career is with one of the company’s Project Managers who began working in Traffic Management. Through the combination of their own attitude/aptitude, United Civil’s support and external training, including a NZ Diploma in Civil Engineering at NorthTec, they proceeded to advance through the ranks to become a Project Manager.

As a business where no two days are the same, United Civil gets involved in some ground-breaking projects, like the Ruakākā Energy Park, a 100MW battery storage system. The first stage of the energy park is the battery storage system (BESS).

It will cover an area the size of two rugby fields and provide additional reserve power and resilience to the national grid. “It will accelerate the growth of renewable generation and support the transition to a net-zero economy by 2050. It’s a great example of how significant our projects can be.”

“We are big supporters of this wonderful region we’re based in. As much as possible, we engage local businesses on our projects while over the years, we have built strong and enduring relationships with clients.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2023 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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