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Unemployed youth being targeted as trainee scaffolders

3 October 2011

Unemployed youth being targeted as trainee scaffolders

The scaffolding industry is recruiting new trainees direct from the Limited Service Volunteer programme to help boost the workforce for Christchurch’s rebuild.

The Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) programme is a six-week residential course for unemployed youth based at Burnham Military Camp. The course is funded by the Ministry of Social Development, run by the New Zealand Defence Force and supported by the New Zealand Police. It prepares young people for the workforce and for life.

Scaffolding and Rigging NZ (SARNZ) has teamed up with Tai Poutini Polytechnic and Work and Income to launch a pilot programme to train LSV graduates in basic scaffolding and rigging skills.

Ten young people, some recent graduates of the LSV programme, have taken part in a six-week pilot training programme and are currently undertaking work experience in the scaffolding industry.

SARNZ President Graham Burke says the general principles of the Limited Service Volunteers programme ticked all the boxes as the scaffolding industry wants to make a difference as well as attract new blood.

“This is a bit of a personal crusade for many of us. Society is responsible for many of these kids issues and we get to help instill work ethics and new skills and hopefully plug some staff shortages too,” he says.

A lack of a trained labour force has been identified as an issue that could hinder the speed of the Christchurch re-build.

“The industry is right behind this pilot programme, there are jobs for those who want them, says Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Scaffolding Head of Department Vadim Spice.

“The pilot had a combination of LSV graduates and other unemployed people. The guys off the LSV course already had a sense of discipline and a level of confidence which was great. We have even set up a scaffold at Burnham Military Camp that was donated by Layher Scaffolding and and co-ordinated by SARNZ,” he says.

24 year old Matt Wieblltz has been unemployed for seven months after being laid off from his loader job after the earthquake. Work and Income supported him to attend the pilot programme and he has already got a permanent job with Christchurch company Elliot Scaffolding.

“I never thought about being a scaffolder, but I am really enjoying it. I think I can make a career out of this, you earn good money and work outdoors which I like,” he says.

Jo Aldridge, Work and Income’s Labour Market Manager for the Canterbury region, says the partnership is a win-win situation. “We work very hard to connect young unemployed people into employment. Scaffolding can be a great career opportunity, especially for some of the very keen and confident LSV graduates. And the industry benefits from having keen young people attracted to the sector.”

“The LSV programme provides young people with the opportunity to think about their lives, their futures and the kind of employment they want. Graduates find self-confidence and the motivation to work. Connecting them directly from the course into a scaffolding career is a fantastic result,” she says.

A further scaffolding training course will be held as the demand arises.


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