Engineering & Manufacturing

South Waikato Precision Engineering

South Waikato Precision Engineering (SWPE) is a classic example of one of those businesses that has stayed local and grown big.

In 1997, Jeff Mossong and Frank Aerts set up a breakdown and repair shop in Tokoroa. Back then the business employed the grand total of four people – and that included the two directors.

Being close to clients helps. SWPE does a lot of work for the forestry sector, for example, coming up with clever ideas for products and then manufacturing them in their workshop.

But being strategically placed to service a broad range of clients is just part of the story behind SWPE’s continued expansion.

There’s the ready access to a skilled workforce – industry has long been part of the region’s DNA. And then there’s what Jeff and Frank call “innovation through collaboration”.

Skills hub aids expansion

The South Waikato is home to a number of engineering firms who are always sharing ideas – so much so that the region is starting to get a name as a centre for innovation.

SWPE is heavily involved in a unique skills pipeline called South Waikato Trade Training.

This collaboration between the South Waikato Engineering Cluster, the South Waikato District Council, Toi-Ohomai (one of the largest tertiary education providers in the country) and other key stakeholders was created to help ensure local industries continue to have a strong skill base to draw from.

The model encompases the engineering, automotive and logistics sectors and plans are afoot to roll it across other sectors.

Frank Aerts is proud of the way that SWPE has evolved over the years and sees exciting times ahead. He laughs at any thoughts about moving.

“Why would I go anywhere else?” he says. “The infrastructure, the resources, the lifestyle. It’s all here!”