New tradies needed

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Carpenter Stu Dawson, left, receives his qualification certificate from BCITO training advisor John Moorren after completing his apprenticeship.

With the construction industry booming in Mid Canterbury, one area that could hold back progress is a lack of skilled workers in the trades.

BCITO training advisor John Moorren said construction companies are desperate for more people to take up apprenticeships.

“Every employer I have spoken to for quite some time is after some form of skilled worker, whether it’s an apprentice or someone coming into the workforce or pre-trade or overseas even.

“It’s definitely a dramatic increase from what I have seen in Mid Canterbury, I’ve been in construction 30 plus years and I have never seen it like this,” he said.

BCITO manages apprenticeships for the building and construction industry in New Zealand.

John supports both the employer and apprentice through the four year apprenticeship.

As an alternative to university, John thinks apprenticeships are an excellent option.

“Apprenticeships are great because you are earning while you’re learning, you’re not incurring a large debt, you are gaining skills and getting paid for it.”

Students who are practically minded rather than academically would find a trade apprenticeship more rewarding.

“Sure they can go to university, but a lot prefer the practically orientated lifestyle, working with your hands,” John said.

There is no cost for the person doing an apprenticeship, and employers are eligible for a government fund called Apprenticeship Boost.

Apprenticeship Boost is a payment available through the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to support employers of apprentices in the first two years of their training and is available for employers with existing and new apprentices.

John has a few solutions on how to encourage young people to consider an apprenticeship.

“Working with the schools more closely is a big deal, both Ashburton and Mount Hutt Colleges have strong gateway programmes, awareness is a big deal for youth.”

Apprentices now use an app to communicate with John and log information during their apprenticeship.

“They work from an online app – they used to write down everything, they have an app on their phone so they can send though and log information about their pathway. It’s a great way for them to work, it really suits youth now days.”

John gets a lot of satisfaction watching new apprentices progress through their training, from their first step on to a building site to running the sites four years later.

“It’s very rewarding, the best part of my day is being out on site supporting them and having a bit of banter with the apprentices. I went out to see a chap earlier who was finishing his apprenticeship, he was over the moon, absolutely stoked.

“I’ve been through it, you’re relieved, you’re grateful and pleased it’s over, but you also appreciate the journey you’ve been on.”

Anyone interested in getting into a trade can give John a call on 027 230 8102.

-By Daniel Tobin