They’re the workhorse of tradies and the farmer's four-wheeled friend.
Now utes are helping Auckland Council and maintenance provider Citycare maintain water-sensitive infrastructure across the region.
2-in-a-Ute is a pilot programme employing and training locals to manage stormwater assets in rural locations; the intention - to support them in employment and provide them with the opportunity to become small business owners in their own right.
Employing locals offers benefits to both the community and the operator. As a local, the operator is a known and trusted face with strong ties to their community, and the environment benefits as they manage the assets to improve the quality of water filtering into Auckland’s waterways while mitigating the carbon footprint by keeping it local.
As the name suggests, the concept is a two-member team equipped with a ute, tools and the knowledge to maintain the infrastructure.
"We're committed to investing in initiatives that will reduce our carbon footprint and prepare Auckland for a climate-ready future. Supporting opportunities like this is key to building resilience in our communities," says Craig Mcilroy, General Manager Healthy Waters.
There are currently four teams deployed across Auckland from Hibiscus and Bays in the north to Papakura in the south. Much of the work is labour intensive and small, agile units working in this environment allows for quicker response time for the public.
“Citycare Water is excited about the potential of this pilot programme,” adds Tim Gibson, Executive General Manager.
"We’ve been working with the council to design this programme, and the team is an enthusiastic group of individuals looking for new opportunities and seeking to acquire new skills. We look forward to being able to provide long-term social and environmental outcomes for Auckland.”
The teams will initially be employed by Citycare Water as they build their skills and confidence.
The long-term plan is for Auckland Council to franchise the 2-in-a-Ute model.