Introducing Tom, your new Apprentice Leader

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Tom Eldridge of Heb Construction Auckland joins the 2024/2025 BCITO Apprentice Leadership Group. Tom’s partnership with BCITO is part of the next intake of apprentice leaders in the Concrete sector, highlighting BCITO’s commitment to empowering and involving apprentices in shaping their learning experiences. The group, initiated in 2023, is a progressive approach to fostering collaboration and communication at the grassroots level within the construction trades

Meet Tom, a down-to-earth Kiwi bloke who enjoys 4WD off-roading and camping. However, what truly distinguishes him is his involvement in large-scale construction projects like Te Whau Pathway. A four metre wide curving boardwalk being built over water in the sensitive coastal marine environment of the Whau River.

Tom started his career at Housing NZ before moving to Mega Structures, National Personnel, and HEB Construction, finishing his apprenticeship in early 2023. Despite challenges with dyslexia, specifically Irlen Syndrome, Tom persevered through his apprenticeship with the constant support of his family.

What he loves most about his work is the diversity and scale of projects that concrete chippies undertake. From deciphering plans to working with precision on grid lines, Tom hits his sweet spot when faced with a tricky job, loving the constant learning, and honing his skills.

Reflecting on his experience, he believes there’s room for improvement in how education around learning difficulties is approached in apprenticeships. He advocates for a shift towards providing equal opportunities and support for individuals with disabilities rather than pity.

Now, as an Apprentice Leader, Tom sees himself as a facilitator of discussions, aiming to identify barriers and offer guidance to fellow apprentices. He believes in leveraging his firsthand experience to bridge the gap between apprentices and employers, ultimately making the transition into leadership roles smoother for persons who are typically challenged within the traditional framework.

Tom joins Ella Wilson of Allied Concrete Ltd Christchurch, the first Concrete apprentice leader, as the second voice for apprentices in the Concrete sector. They’re part of a dynamic cohort of 30 apprentice leaders, which includes 15 new additions, featuring two representatives from each BCITO-mandated trade.

The structure of the program, with a term of 24 months and a new cohort recruited every 12 months, ensures a continuous influx of fresh perspectives and ideas.

The emphasis on forming authentic partnerships between leaders, employers, industry, and BCITO is crucial for creating a supportive and effective learning environment.

We’re excited to team up with Tom! Ready to make some awesome changes to support all Concrete apprentices.

If you’d like to know more about the apprentice leader program and how to support it, please contact Verina Jones, Advocate for the Learner Voice.