Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee expects between 1500 and 3000 new jobs to be created during the Christchurch rebuild over the next seven years.
Under a scheme announced on Thursday, 900 workers will be recruited during the next year and will undergo six to 14 weeks training, after which they will be guaranteed a job helping fix the city's quake-damaged roads and other infrastructure.
Mr Brownlee told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme workers will be paid $300 a week during the course.
"Once they're on the job, there'll be a further period of time when they're in training with travelling tutors working with them to the point where they get the qualifications."
Mr Brownlee says the new jobs are in addition to the nearly 3000 people already working on the rebuild.
Cantabrians given priority
Canterbury's young job-seekers are to be first in line for the 900 guaranteed new jobs offered as part of the Government scheme.
The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team is in charge of recruitment and training, and general manager Duncan Gibb says Cantabrians will take priority so the city's housing shortage is not made worse.
"We aim to target school-leavers or those who are currently unemployed or people who are looking to change careers. Locals would be fantastic."
Building Industry Federation chief executive Bruce Kohn says the rebuild has already helped halve unemployment in Christchurch so it is inevitable that many workers will have to be recruited nationally.
Christchurch city councillor Glenn Livingstone says many who get jobs with an infrastructure rebuild scheme already have accommodation, but those from outside the city will have trouble finding homes.
Mr Livingstone told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme rents in some areas are getting out of people's reach. He said it was not clear that the city's stretched social services are equipped to deal with an influx of workers.
Developer JGM Group has applied for resource consent to install prefab housing for 200 workers on the Turners and Growers site in Christchurch.
Company spokesperson Sam Fisher says the first accommodation site could open in March, and the firm has plans for another three sites to house 1000 workers in total.
A roadshow publicising the guaranteed new jobs will be taken around the South Island.