“The real strength of the Budget is that the Government has recognised the various sides of the training industry. The residential sector is by far the largest training ground for construction skills and construction firms having work is critical to apprentice numbers. The extra 8,000 new public and transitional homes, and the Warmer Kiwi Homes package, is a nod to help maintain the supply of work and drive skill demand by employers who will also be supported if they take on apprentices.”
“The Government also recognises that we need to continue to develop and grow our skills during recessionary times as historically we’ve struggled to have sufficient skills when the market recovers. Free fees for all for two years, support for group training schemes, support for Maori and Pasifika trades training and trade academies in schools is all targeted at this,” says Mr Quinn.
“Finally, the fast tracking of the Reforms to Vocational Education and the establishment of the six Workforce Development Councils by the end of the year will pave the way for Industry Training Organisations and Polytechs to work closely together and form the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. For too long we have been competitors and we have to remove those incentives, so we work together for the best interests of employers and learners.”
While the nature of the current crisis is in many ways unprecedented, the construction sector has been through recessions many times before (2008 global financial crisis, Canterbury earthquakes, 1997 Asian financial crisis and the stock market crash of 1987) with similar results.
“The core challenge for construction sector is retaining apprentices in the system. This package goes a long way towards breaking the ‘boom and bust cycle’ and keeping talent in the system.”
Quinn stresses this is a great time to enter the trades. “There will be roles available, and we need to stress it is not all about being ‘on the tools’. As people look to their next career move the building and construction sector offers a range of opportunities.”
Apprentice numbers in construction are tied directly to the health of building and construction firms, and particularly to residential construction firms. Currently, BCITO has just over 13,000 active trainees and apprentices. Last year, building and construction was New Zealand’s third largest sector, directly contributing $19 billion to the country’s GDP. Residential building forms the backbone of the sector, accounting for 60% of its revenue, and employing 80% of apprentices.
Further enquiries, please contact:
Acumen Republic on behalf of BCITO
T +64 21 0234 4157