As part of Got a Trade Week, Minister Louise Upston visited The Brothers Mead Bricklayers in Wellington on Wednesday to trade places with an apprentice and experience what it's like to be working in the trade.
The Minister spent a couple of hours talking to Rick Mead and his apprentices on site and at first said, "this looks complicated!" but was pleasantly surprised by her efforts. Rick Mead, Chairperson of BCITO’s Brick & Block Laying National Advisory Group has been training apprentices for over 15 years now and having a Minister visit was a first for his team.
Minister Upston laid a row of blocks forming part of the reinforced walls of a new residential build. Josh Burridge, recently completed BCITO apprentice said he really enjoyed showing the Minister what’s involved in his day-to-day work although he never expected to get to show a politician with a penchant for the trades what to do during his working life. Now qualified, Josh is looking forward, to being responsible for his own apprentice in the near future and helping pass on his knowledge and skills.
Angela Lewes, BCITO Industry Advocate for Brick & Block Laying says, “This morning was an excellent opportunity to promote the brick & block laying trade to young career seekers and their influencers as part of Got a Trade Week. We’d like to thank The Brothers Mead for letting us visit and hosting Hon. Louise Upston.
“Brick & Block Laying is going through a major skills shortage so there’s plenty of opportunities available right now for young people with a good attitude who enjoy working outside as part of a team. While the work may at times be physically challenging, it also provides a great sense of achievement when you can look back and see the transformation that you’ve been a part of creating every day on site.
Minister Upston did a great job laying a course of blocks and this just goes to show that this is a possible career for both genders and girls should think seriously about giving it a go.”
Josh said he felt proud to show the Minister the ins-and-outs and really enjoyed talking about the trade with her.
Nice one team Brothers Mead – thanks so much for your contribution to industry training and the brick & block sector today!
‘More apprenticeships’ will be a catch cry this election campaign, with Government targets and opposition policies looking to grow the numbers of traineeships and apprenticeships.
With only a few trades being profiled as part of the trade-swap initiative during Got a Trade Week the Minister’s visit today will certainly go a long way to help raise the profile of Brick & Block Laying as a great trade where you can earn while you learn, and pick up an internationally recognised qualification along the way.
Female trade apprentices are loving their career choice, but few considered a career in building or construction while they were at school, research shows.
Brad Gemmell qualified as a bricklayer at 21 years of age and hopped on a plane to London, ready to put his skills to the test. He returned to New Zealand a few years later and began his own business, Brad the Brickie Ltd in Wanaka.