Heremaia (fifth from left) and his team at HDS Frame and Truss
Since taking over his Katikati business in 2017, Heremaia has been committed to training apprentices of all ethnicities and dedicating resources to supporting diversity in the trades.
"I currently have two apprentices, and since 2008 I have trained around 13. It is very satisfying to work alongside them, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon! Most of my apprentices are Māori or Pasifika, but I hire skilled people from all backgrounds and ethnicities,” says Heremaia.
Heremaia undertook the BCITO New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trades – Supervisor course in 2017 to improve his managerial skills and help develop his apprentices’ careers.
“It provided me with a sound understanding of why apprentices are useful for delivering results. By investing in them now, I’m creating a skilled and loyal worker who understands how my business operates. It was so valuable that I'm now getting one of my managers to do it, as I want him to move up in the business and take on a greater leadership role.
Heremaia is committed to encouraging young Māori and Pasifika peoples to give the trades a go.
"I often head down to the local Marae or rugby club to have a chat with the young Māori and Pasifika rangatahi about the possibility of a career in the trades. It's important to be involved in your community. Helps spread the word about apprenticeships and how beneficial apprenticeships can be."
Heremaia is one of the many builders around Aotearoa New Zealand who are dedicated to encouraging diverse young people to give a career in the trades a go. The country’s largest building and construction training provider, BCITO, a division of Te Pūkenga Work Based Learning, is also committed to increasing the number of Māori and Pasifika in the sector.
BCITO has developed specific strategies to engage with both groups, hired a Principal Advisor for Māori and a Principal Advisor for Pasifika, is upskilling the cross-cultural capability of its training advisors, and developed tailored recruitment initiatives. Most importantly, it understands that a “one size fits all” approach does not suit a cosmopolitan and diverse Aotearoa.
Jason Hungerford, Director of BCITO, is pleased with the organisation’s work to encourage diverse groups of people to undertake apprenticeships.
“We continue to see increasing rates of Māori and Pasifika rangatahi taking on apprenticeships. We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of Pasifika apprentices, which increased from 920 in December 2020 to over 1700 in March 2022. It shows that our strategies are working.
Other initiatives like the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) have played a role in getting more Māori and Pasifika into apprenticeships, with 20% of BCITO learners supported by the TTAF Māori and 9% Pasifika.
BCITO needs more diverse young people to consider a career in the trades. Learn more.