For many businesses in New Zealand’s construction industry, 2010 was a challenging year — and the BCITO was no exception.
A positive aspect of its 2010 results was seeing almost 2600 trainees complete their qualification and gain a national certificate.
However, the total number of apprentices in formal training fell by one third to 5600, and only 1800 new apprentices entered the training system over the financial year. Because of the low numbers of new apprentices entering the system over the past two years, the completion numbers are set to drop by 60% just as the industry needs them the most.
These falling numbers are a cause for concern not only for the BCITO, because they should be seen as a call to action for everyone within the industry.
Recent BCITO research found that with an ageing workforce within the construction and related industries, a plan for replacing at least half the existing workers is needed.
The research also found that over the next three years, taking into account projected industry growth as the country heads out of the recession, the industry needs to do more than replace those who leave, by taking on greater numbers and strengthening the industry if it is to meet the increasing demand for construction.
The reality of the situation is that more than 8000 new workers will be required each year by 2013 — that’s 14% of the total workforce
The industry must start planning for this eventuality now, or it will be playing catch-up and, as has happened in the past, competing with other industries for labour just as demand begins to grow strongly again.
A positive outcome for the BCITO at the end of the year was the release of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) Performance Report. The TEC funds the BCITO, and has recently introduced new performance measures which focus on completions.
The TEC report released in December 2010 provided a snapshot of the educational achievement of industry trainees from 2009 across the 38 ITOs.
The results reflect the BCITO’s positive focus on trainees achieving credits and completing qualifications. The BCITO topped the table in both performance measures.
100% of credits were achieved by BCITO trainees (there was an average of 47% across all ITOs), and the BCITO was identified as having a huge 89% completion rate for those registered in training agreements (the average across all ITOs was 34%).
While these outstanding and very positively reported results validate BCITO research findings, in isolation they are not enough to maintain the industry’s future.
The bottom line is that there are not enough people coming into formal training to meet the needs of the industry in the future.
The BCITO’s training success shows its clear commitment to the industry’s future to ensure the long term viability and success of the construction sector. However, business owners also need to commit to increasing the skill base.