Improve your business and apprentices with a BCITO Building Capability Grant

Jennian Homes Wellington managing director Simon Barber has six apprentices working across his building sites.

To celebrate applications opening for this year’s BCITO Building Capability Grants, Building Today spoke with one of last year’s recipients, Jennian Homes Wellington managing director Simon Barber, about the effect it’s had on his business.

As a division of Te Pukenga Work Based Learning, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) continues to support employers in the construction industry through its Building Capability Grant (BCG).

Through the grant, any employer of a BCITO apprentice can receive up to $3000 towards training or development assistance that best suits their personal or business needs.

Simon Barber has six apprentices working across his building sites. During the first Covid lockdown in 2020, he noticed that his apprentices were putting more effort into their bookwork, and developed a plan with the support of the BCG to keep this momentum going.

“I applied for a BCITO BCG to develop a night school for my apprentices. It’s an opportunity for them to learn their theory, hone their technical skills, and progress further in their apprenticeship,” Barber says.

Running every Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm, the night school brings in qualified tradespeople to explain building methods and practices. There is also a focus on goal setting and planning for the future.

“The achievement rates of our apprentices have increased, massively. Many young people don’t plan ahead, and we’re proud to give them extra support,” he says.

Barber’s night school also has a focus on personal growth and mental health. “With much of the sector being stressed with Covid, supply chain disruption and record building demand, apprentices need additional guidance to find their footing.

“Mental health is hard right now. Everyone has their issues, apprentices and senior leaders included.

“Millennials have different requirements compared to more experienced tradespeople, and the night school helps apprentices have a deeper sense of connection with their peers.”

BCITO director Jason Hungerford says the BCG offers employers within the construction industry access to study programmes that will help them develop and grow their business.

“We believe this support will help develop successful long-term businesses, all while providing investment in training and employment within New Zealand’s construction industry.”

Employers in the past have used the BCG across a variety of areas, including consultations with business advisors, courses or seminars on small business management, and higher-level business-related qualifications.

Each application is assessed by a member of the BCITO’s Senior Leadership Team.

Successful applicants need to demonstrate how the use of the funds meets the purpose of the BCG. There will be 40 BCGs available this year.

Find out more about the BCITO Building Capability Grant, and submit an application at

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