Introducing the Critical Skills Apprenticeship Programme

Earlier this year, BCITO, a business division of Te Pūkenga and workplace training provider, Education Unlimited, joined forces to run an Apprentice Support Programme for 15 Te Tai Tokerau apprentices. Apprentices from south of Whāngarei, the Bay of Islands including Kerikeri, Opua and Russell joined together once a month in Kerikeri.

The Critical Skills Apprenticeship Programme has been designed to boost apprenticeship success and help aspiring tradies navigate the formal aspects of their mahi.

Tina Rose, Director at Education Unlimited knew the programme was needed to provide additional support for Te Tai Tokerau apprentices. She says this vast region of Northland is difficult for BCITO Training Advisors to visit their trainees and provide them with the support required.

“We designed five workshops spread across five months which focused on a range of different things. For example, the basics of the BCITO training portal, how to navigate it, and supporting the apprentices to get into good habits with taking/uploading photos from onsite. There was also a focus on financial literacy and numeracy, along with discussions around well-being, mindsets, the importance of mental health, and SMART goals.

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“The workshops made up the bulk of the five-month Programme, along with additional one-on-one sessions for each apprentice. Learners who completed the Programme gained their Site Safe Foundation Passport in Building Construction, a GoodYarn mental health awareness certificate, along with developing their skills in time management, problem-solving, and workplace communication,” says Tina.

Employers were welcome to join the workshops, while BCITO Training Advisors were also present at all five. The programme saw some great results and garnered some encouraging support from employers.

“Many of the employers feel their apprentices are more confident following the workshops and that their communication skills got better. Before the course only two of the apprentices had been through the Site Safe programme, there was also an increase in completion on the BCITO training portal,” continues Tina.

Feedback from apprentices was also extremely encouraging, one of whom described a session as “the best day they’d had in two weeks”, while another said it provided them with a sense of community.

“I didn’t realise that there were others that struggle like me. It is nice being able to interact with other apprentices feeling the same as me.”

Following the pilot in Kerikeri there is there is another cohort about to start in Whāngarei and hope that eventually the Programme will be rolled out region by region, nationwide.

Aotearoa New Zealand needs more people from all backgrounds to consider a career in the trades. BCITO has the resources and support systems in place to ensure everyone has an equal shot at success.

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