A record number of Kiwis are looking to the trades to build a career but this is still not enough to meet industry demand.
For the first time in the organisation’s history, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation has 11,000 apprentices actively working towards a qualification.
This is a fantastic milestone but we still need thousands more apprentices in training each year to meet demand,” says BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn.
“New Zealand is in the midst of a skills shortage,” says Quinn. New Zealand’s construction and building sector desperately needs more recruits. It needs 65,000 new people over the next five years to meet new growth and replace people who leave.
There has never been a better time to consider a career in construction, says Quinn.
“We expect this current pressure to continue into the 2020s. Forecasts for the next few years provide confidence for people considering a career in the construction industry and for business owners thinking about expanding their business and taking on more staff.”
The 11,000th apprentice, Aucklander and father of three Daniel Poe, says the trades offer him fantastic career opportunities and job security.
"Building is the family trade," says Daniel. “My father was a builder, I used to tag along with him on jobs. He taught me a lot and was really supportive when I decided to start an apprenticeship.”
Daniel who completed his schooling in Samoa before moving to Auckland, says it is never too late to begin an apprenticeship and is looking forward to gaining his qualification and taking the next step in his career.
“I’m looking forward to becoming a foreman, stepping up and taking the lead on projects. One day I would like to own a business in New Zealand and also find a way to give back to the community in Samoa and the Islands.”
Daniel is employed by FreeStyla Constructors in Auckland which employs about 100 people. His employer Michael Patton says taking on apprentices benefits both sides. “By training my staff I help them to get better at their jobs, earn more money and expand their opportunities. As an employer, training is essential to make my workforce grow.”
“The current environment is hectic and is only going to become more so,” says Michael. “There is a definite shortage of skilled workers in New Zealand so the more people we encourage to join the trades the better.”
BCITO has organised a range of nationwide initiatives in recent months to demonstrate the value of apprenticeships in the building and construction industry. These have included the Not Your Average Tradie Road Trip, their annual Big Construction Tour and the Build-Ability Challenge which is currently underway at secondary schools across New Zealand.
A presentation will be held in Auckland on Wednesday 12 July to mark this milestone.
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.
Not many employers in the construction sector realise the Government's Fees Free initiative extends to apprenticeships for not one, but two years.