Mancunians offered new life Down Under in exchange for helping to rebuild a devastated city

By Stephen Sumner

Mancunians are being offered a fresh start in New Zealand in exchange for help with the rebuild of Christchurch.

Officials from the city are here in the UK, looking to recruit skilled Britons to repair the damage it suffered in the earthquakes of September 2010 and February this year.

They were in London last weekend and here in Manchester tomorrow and Sunday at Manchester Central.

The earthquakes that hit Christchurch left 181 people dead. It destroyed around 30,000 homes along with much of the business district. 

Over the next 10 years, an estimated 30,000 skilled workers are needed for construction, engineering and IT jobs in Christchurch.

The people of New Zealand have taken a positive outlook on the hand they have been dealt. They see the devastation as a chance to start afresh, something to which Mancunians can surely relate after the city’s redevelopment following the damage caused by the IRA bombing in 1996.

Alex Bouma, the deputy chairman of Canterbury Employment and Skills Board (CESB) which covers the region including Christchurch said: “There is going to be a huge economic opportunity over the next three to 10 years.

“The UK expos will play a crucial role in providing businesses with the employees they need.”

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