This was the first NAG meeting to take place in person since May 2019 and it was great to have all members there, old and new to discuss what is happening out in the Brick & Block sector. 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 Brick & Block 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 an enormous increase in apprentice numbers, since 1 July when the no fees initiative began we have seen 152 sign-ups (new and re-sign) into the Brick & Block qualification. We have also seen 37 new employers take on apprentices for the first time.
The Trowel Trades qualification review, which includes Brick & Block, has taken place with the working group identifying minimal changes required to the qualification. The qualification has been submitted to NZQA for re-approval, and we hope to hear back in regards to this in early 2021.
There was real excitement about myBCITO for apprentices which is an online Learning Management System (LMS) being used by apprentices to load evidence of their work, access their resources, access to third party content and take part in fun interactive quizzes.
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 hosted on the myBCITO platform. The learning bites will be brief, informative and solution-focused. They are not an alternative to seeking help and do not put BCITO in the space of providing interventions. The aim is to raise awareness, pure and simple.
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.