Record 20,000 apprentices now in construction trades training

From left: BCITO chief executive Toby Beaglehole, Te Pukenga work-based learning subsidiary chair John Brockies, and BCITO chair Mike King.

On July 21, 2021, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) announced it had 20,000 apprentices in training — an all-time record.

To mark this milestone, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and BCITO chief executive Toby Beaglehole visited a Holmes Construction housing project in Wellington, where they met with apprentices undergoing training.

The occasion also saw BCITO chair Mike King and Te Pukenga council member John Brockies sign an agreement for the transfer of arranging training from BCITO to Te Pukenga.

Speaking onsite, Beaglehole said the BCITO had signed up more than 6500 apprentices in 2021 alone.

“We are immensely proud to have reached this milestone. If the number of apprenticeship sign-ups continues at the current rate, we could have enough to meet the demand for qualified construction workers in New Zealand in the longer term,” Beaglehole said.

“We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the Government’s investment in free trades training, and support for employers with the Apprenticeship Boost.”

The Apprenticeship Boost provides up to $1000 a month for first-year apprentices and $500 a month for second-year apprentices. Since it was rolled out in August 2020, more than 10,000 employers have signed up and received almost $97 million in subsidies for more than 21,000 apprentices throughout New Zealand.

“We thank organisations like Holmes Construction for taking on apprentices and their commitment to help build New Zealand’s construction workforce,” Beaglehole said.

“As we transition into Te Pukenga, we expect opportunities for apprentices to continue to broaden as on-job and off-job learning come closer together to offer more flexible vocational learning.”

Holmes Construction managing director Ben Holmes said the company has always valued bringing through the next generation of builders.

“We expose our apprentices to a wide variety of residential and commercial work. This means that once they are qualified, they come out with a well-rounded skill set,” Holmes said.

“The only hard part is keeping them!”

Te Pukenga Work Based Learning Limited (WBL) acting chief executive Fiona Kingsford said they were looking forward to welcoming the BCITO to the Te Pukenga whanau.

“The BCITO brings a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience to Te Pukenga as we take another step in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a vocational learning system,” Kingsford said.

“It is a system that is simple to navigate, responds to the needs of a diverse range of learners and employers, and is flexible enough to change as the future develops.”

Te Pukenga was established by the Government to unite Institutes of Technology, Polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) around the country into a national network.

When an ITO transitions functions to Te Pukenga, it will become a separately branded business division within the WBL subsidiary of Te Pukenga.

Following the transition on October 4, 2021, the BCITO will be referred to as the BCITO Business Division within WBL.

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