On Wednesday 4 November at the Rydges Hotel in Wellington, the AAJ NAG met for the second time in 2020, but the first time in person as the April meeting took place virtually via Zoom. We want to take this opportunity to thank all NAG members for taking the time out of their busy schedules to travel to Wellington and contribute to such a productive meeting. Some of the key discussion points to come out of the meeting were:
- The entire industry is hectic currently, most businesses have worked secured for the next 8-12 months, and the earlier fears of a lack of work due to Covid-19 seem to of been alleviated.
- There is a real labour shortage around the country within the AAJ industry, businesses are struggling to find staff, and that is ranging from labourers, apprentices right through to qualified staff.
- The government initiatives announced earlier this year have seen a considerable increase in apprentice numbers, since 1 July when the fees-free initiative began. We have seen 210 sign-ups (new and re-signs) into AAJ qualifications. We have also seen 32 new employers take on apprentices for the first time.
- The AAJ qualification review began in September with the working group meeting to go through the qualifications. The proposed changes are currently being circulated to a broader group of stakeholders. The qualification will then be submitted to NZQA for approval with the results of this expected back in the first quarter of 2021.
- There was real excitement about myBCITO which is an online Learning Management System (LMS) being used by apprentices to load evidence of their work, access their resources, access third party content and take part in fun interactive quizzes. AAJ apprentices are expected to have access to myBCITO before the end of 2020.
- Mental health is a huge talking point in the construction industry, and the BCITO Education Team is developing a series of mental health ‘learning bites’ for apprentices and employers that will be available on the myBCITO platform. The learning bites will be brief, informative and solution-focused. They are not an alternative to seeking help and definitely do not put BCITO in the space of providing interventions. The aim is pure and simple - to raise awareness.
Industry intelligence says there are approximately 300 Resin applicators across New Zealand.
Glenn Bosworth of Bosworth Stone Ltd and Bosworth and Barthel Stone Restoration Ltd enlightens us to the practice that stonemasons had of carving caricatures of themselves into the stonework features.