This is an important milestone, not just for BCITO, but for industry. We wholeheartedly thank all our industry partners for the tremendous support you give us every day as we work towards helping each and every apprentice become the best they can be.
Back in 1991, BCITO first began as part of Master Builders. In the early days we had 19 staff across 6 regional offices. We now have 230 staff across 19 offices. How things have changed since those early days!
When the Training Advisor role was established, they visited you on-site driving their own personal vehicles. Peter Philipsen, one of our original Training Advisors and who’s now with Master Builders, told us, “the car I drove was an Austin 1300 – the Chief Executive was not impressed!”
The grapevine was word of mouth or ‘look at the face’ not look at ‘Facebook’ and the internet was just being introduced in New Zealand.
We officially became BCITO in April 2001 and stood on our own, separate to Master Builders. By that time our numbers had grown to 4,000 apprentices.
Tony Love, Midlands Area Manager, started with BCITO in 2000; “I remember we had a Regional Administrator in the Auckland Office, she was Australian. We just called her ‘Miss Melbourne’. Training Plans were carbonised forms in triplicate which you had to handwrite and then Miss Melbourne would type them up and file them away safely”.
Back then Training Advisors looked after around 200 apprentices each and Tony says it was a real challenge to keep up with all his site visits.
In 2001 BCITO introduced fleet vehicles for staff which were front-wheel-drive, Holden Vectra station wagons. “As soon as you went off-road they got stuck,” says Tony. That’s when we introduced driver training for staff. Cell phones were hardwired into the vehicle so you could make calls while you were out on the road and driving – and that was all perfectly legal.
The very first issue of our printed newsletter, BCNews, was in July 2003. That year we also ran our first apprentice recruitment campaign and this contributed immensely to a growth in numbers.
When Ruma Karaitiana joined us as Chief Executive in 2006, it was time for research, consulting and putting a strategic plan into place. We moved to visiting apprentices more frequently and set aside resources to make sure our qualifications were aligned to the license classes in the upcoming LBP regime.
We welcomed Kevin Sceats to the position of Board Chair in 2008 and his careful stewardship steered us along a steady path for the next eight years.
We all know the industry is cyclical, there are times of boom and bust, and we’ve weathered a few of these along with industry. In 2009 we instigated a special project to enable restarts and resigns to ‘save’ laid-off apprentices. Also during that time a new assessment model was rolled out and Training Advisors became assessors and took over all apprentice assessment. This model is one of our great successes, is stronger than ever today, and gaining international acclaim in academic circles.
In 2014 with the merger of BCITO, JITO, FloorNZ and DecorateNZ, we released our vision of creating a single construction and infrastructure ITO. This enabled us to grow the trades under over coverage from less than 10 to more than 15. The merger meant all our related trades can learn from each other as we work together.
Fast-forward to 2016; for the first time ever we hit 10,000 apprentices in training. Back in the 90s, we peaked at around 1,500. Twenty years on and more than four times the number of apprentices are being crafted into the next generation of Kiwi tradies.
The pressure is on and it’s not going to let up anytime soon. We’re well equipped to handle the volume. With our ground-breaking Workforce Development Strategies, we look forward to meeting industry’s expectations and helping to produce the required number of Qualified Professionals.
Our partnership with industry has greatly influenced the directions we’ve taken in regard to training systems and initiatives over the past 25 years. Without your generous support and involvement, we wouldn’t be the robust organisation that we are right now.
We look forward to supporting you for the next 25 years. Together, we’re working towards creating a skilled workforce that’s fully equipped for future demand.
Happy 25th BCITO! - and to all 25,000 BCITO Qualified Professionals out there; it’s been great having you along for the ride. We look forward to helping you build the next 25,000!
Brad Gemmell qualified as a bricklayer at 21 years of age and hopped on a plane to London, ready to put his skills to the test. He returned to New Zealand a few years later and began his own business, Brad the Brickie Ltd in Wanaka.
Not many employers in the construction sector realise the Government's Fees Free initiative extends to apprenticeships for not one, but two years.