Empower our people

Skills, knowledge and experience development

At Downer people come first. Through our training and development initiatives, we foster a culture of collaboration, communication, and innovation to empower our team to take on the future with confidence. This includes study assistance, mentoring, secondments across the business and training available over 50 different courses. Many people who start out at with us as apprentices, cadets or university graduates, have gone on to become supervisors, project managers, engineers and business leaders.

Here are just a few of our learning and development programmes available:

Inspiring leaders programme

Three levels of leadership training for managers, supervisors and frontline forepersons, leading to a national certificate in business and first line management.

Frontline leaders’ workshops

Focused on the development of essential leadership skills. Courses include leadership essentials new manager 101, and advanced leadership.

Management qualifications

National certificates in either construction trades (supervisor) level 4 or infrastructure works (single site supervision) Level 4.

WILD – Women in leadership at Downer

This programme is designed as a collaborative learning opportunity for the development of women leaders in Downer.

Road to success

Road to Success is designed to help our people with whole-of-life skills. Financial, health and wellbeing literacy are foundations of the program as well as completing company documents and navigating digital literacy and new technology.

Train the Trainer

Train the Trainer is an in house program giving employees that present information either internally or externally skills to engage with their audiences.

Māori leadership programmes

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Te Ara Whanake

This Māori Leadership Programme is about recognising and developing future leaders within our business. Working alongside Te Puni Kōkiri, the programme continues to increase the participation levels of our Māori workforce to enhance Māori representation at all levels of business. By encouraging the career progression of our Māori employees, we encourage them to become influential leaders and role models. The programme is held in a marae setting with a focus of Māori tikanga (protocol). It helps participants to embrace their heritage, being proud of who they are and stepping into the leadership space.

This programme has won the following awards:

  • 2016 Diversity Works NZ Emerging Diversity & Inclusion Award

  • 2018 HRNZ Corporate Social Responsibility Award

  • 2019 Deloittes Top 200 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award

  • 2020 HRNZ Diversity and Inclusion Award

  • 2021 Transpower Hauora Wellbeing Initiative Award

Māori School Leavers Whakatipu Tetekura

Whakatipu Tētēkura is a programme for Māori school leavers at risk of becoming NEETs (not in education, employment or training). This unique programme comprises a series of marae and classroom-based residential workshops, pastoral care and a supported career development pathway. Participants are permanently employed with Downer, supported through our In-Work Success programme. Downer was a finalist for our Whakatipu Tētēkura programme in the ‘2019 Diversity Awards NZ’ for ‘Tomorrow’s Workforce’. Acknowledging the place Tangata Whenua hold in Aotearoa.

Learn more about our training and upskilling programmes and get in touch with our team for more information.

People focused initiatives

Here's a small sample of the people-focused initiatives we run at Downer New Zealand:

Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our people

We have implemented a range of initiatives in recent years to change the conversation around mental health and to empower our people with strategies to not only support their own mental health and wellbeing, but to also support their friends, families and colleagues. For instance, our mental first aid officers programme enables employees to be trained to provide initial informal support to other employees in the workplace. They complement formal support services, like our Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP).


We are committed to creating a dynamic work environment which inspires employees and allows them to best integrate work with other important things in their life. We help our people achieve this with flexible working, leave entitlements, health check-ups, discount offers and more.


We support our people to always be their best and are constantly looking for innovative ways to help them own their future. With Own’d, our recognition programme, we celebrate our people who have owned the difference they bring to our team and have made a difference in one of our four pillars – Safety, Delivery, Relationships and Thought Leadership.


We pride ourselves on having a strong safety culture because we care about our people and our communities. We remain focused on ensuring that all our people return home safely to their families at the end of their working day.
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We've got the work, bring your difference

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