“Employers who are upskilling staff and hiring apprentices want to make sure their employees have all the fundamentals in place before things start to pick up and the work really hits them,” BCITO area manager Richard Willis says.
Although training figures are on the rise around New Zealand, Christchurch is showing a substantially higher increase than any other region. Mr Willis says the substantial rebuilding in Canterbury over the next five years is contributing to this.
There have been well over 300 new training sign-ups since January 2011, with 153 sign-ups in May and June alone.
“Employers are getting ready for an increase in consumer demand, as well as preparing for licensing legislation that comes into effect in March next year,” Mr Willis says.
“Decisions around the earthquake land damage in the green and red zones have also meant Cantabrians are now in a position to either start rebuilding or to look at developing homes in other areas. There will definitely be significant building work in Canterbury for the next few years.”
These statistics are among the first positive signs that construction companies are getting ready for a much-anticipated boom in business, he says.
Mr Willis also believes there are tremendous career opportunities for those considering a career in building. Students leaving school at the end of 2011 can get straight onto the tools with a BCITO apprenticeship and earn while they learn.
“You’re never going to have a better opportunity to get a broad range of experiences in building. Becoming an apprentice today will mean you could do everything from working on restorations of historic buildings to modern architecture,” Mr Willis says.
“There is also a sense of importance about the rebuilding of Canterbury. The people there have experienced the worst natural disaster of our time in New Zealand. There is more than just work experience to be gained by being part of this rebuild; there is a real sense of camaraderie among those working on this.”
Mr Willis also applauds employers who have begun to upskill staff before things start to pick up. “When business picks up there will be little time to train apprentices and get young people up to speed on core skills,” he says.
He recommends builders use this time to ensure workers are well trained and ready to help rebuild Canterbury, and that they think about relocating staff there if necessary.
“Training staff now will help ensure companies are in a position to achieve the necessary requirements when licensing laws change. It’s not just about hiring new apprentices, but also upskilling existing staff so they will be in a position to supervise less-qualified labour in the future,” Mr Willis says.
The BCITO is appointed by the Government to develop apprenticeships for the building sector, and is the largest provider of building apprenticeships in New Zealand.
Aspiring apprentices can directly access a career in construction through BCITO apprenticeship programmes, without undertaking classroom study.
To find out about BCITO training courses or how to train or find an apprentice, visitwww.bcito.co.nz, contact 0800 4 BCITO or search on Facebook.