Age no barrier to completing an apprenticeship

Finest Finish Decorating is an Upper-Hutt based painting and decorating business that handles residential and commercial properties. Co-owners Joshua and Jo Beckford are a couple who have successfully built the business from the ground up – to the point where they now have five employees, including four apprentices at varying stages.

That includes one apprentice who is about to qualify after two decades in the industry.

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“People that have been in a trade for decades may think they are too old to be an apprentice, but we’re big believers that you’re never too old to learn. We have an apprentice about to qualify who has been painting for 20 years and never thought a qualification was an option. For those that already have the skills and experience, it’s important that they’re aware of the other pathways available to them,” says Joshua.

A goal of BCITO - Te Pūkenga is attracting more people to the building and construction sector – no matter a person’s age, experience, or the type of job they had previously, and helping them go further in their careers with a qualification. Joshua sees diversity in the trades as a no-brainer, bringing greater levels of innovation. It’s about giving everyone an opportunity.

“To support diversity in the trades, it means being open to people from all different walks of life, being prepared to give them an opportunity to get involved, upskill and gain a qualification to improve employment opportunities and pay, which is not an opportunity they may have had in the past,” he says.

Besides providing people with the tools to do the job, the Beckford’s also have an eye on the longer term. They want their staff to develop a degree of independence and responsibility for their own work – two traits that will serve them well for the future.

“We take a balanced approach to the way we manage staff. We do work with them closely to ensure they learn the right skills and techniques, but at the same time, we believe it’s important to give them the responsibility and independence to develop their own way of working. By giving them the capability to manage their own jobs, it sets them up to potentially work for themselves in the future.”

Having the BCITO training curriculum to follow has proved a huge help in getting that balance right.

Says Joshua: “It provides me with a clear understanding of the path staff should follow to get qualified. It means I know when my staff might need extra support in their training or are lacking in certain areas. And with such a diverse team, being able to cater for their different learning styles is incredibly important.”

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