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Maharey Speech: Riding the crest of the wave

Maharey Speech: Riding the crest of the wave:

celebrating the success of apprentice boat builders

Comments at Boating Industries Association/Boating Industry Training Organisation boat building apprenticeship graduation ceremony. Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Westhaven.


I feel honoured to be invited to share in your celebrations today.

Congratulations to you all!

I understand that most of you have already had your National Certificates issued, and I think it is wonderful that we have this opportunity today to give formal acknowledgement of your achievements.

I’m also aware that some of you have completed more than one National Certificate. Without a doubt, a lot of hard work and dedication has got each graduate, or should I say fully qualified boat-builder, to this point today.

I hope each and every one of you is feeling proud of your achievement. And this includes parents, partners, employers, tutors and colleagues – all those who have made a contribution to the successful learning experience of the people we are celebrating today.

A Dynamic Field

What an exciting field you have decided to specialise in! Boat building in New Zealand has always had a reputation for quality as I am sure many fishermen and women and yachties will attest. All of you here are no doubt proud to be associated with that tradition.

However as you know technologies and techniques change. The boating industry in New Zealand has really taken off over the past 10 years as New Zealanders have mastered and adapted change.

The resounding success we have enjoyed in the America’s Cup – and our hope to replicate this time around as well, has also contributed to our reputation for expertise, quality and leadership in this field.

A Growing Field

I was very interested to hear that it’s estimated that of the 5,000 new boats sold to the New Zealand market, 85% are New Zealand built. And 50% of the New Zealand Marine Industry’s output of $700 million is in exports.

These figures are a testament to the world, and ourselves of our ability to excel and lead the way in this very competitive industry.

However, for the marine industry to meet the demand that it is currently facing, it is vital that it either find or train skilled workers. And these workers need to have qualities that mirror those of the industry – smart, adaptable, innovative and focused on quality.

Boating Industry Training Organisation

I look at this industry and think that it is a very good example of how government policy about tertiary education, and this includes all industry training, is complementing industry development objectives.

The National Qualifications Framework has enabled the boating industry to develop qualifications that are relevant, and meet the standards expected by the industry.

The Industry Training Strategy has brought together government and employer funding to facilitate training arrangements and qualifications development.

The Boating ITO (BITO) is one of 46 ITOs that have over the past ten years brought a new look to training for both traditional trades, new industries and emerging occupations. As part of the tertiary reform process, and arising from the review of industry training last year, ITOs will be taking a more active role in forecasting skills needs and training developments for their industry.

I trust that this is a development that is pleasing to this industry because of the speed with which you have to adapt to change and your willingness to be proactive in meeting your needs.

The Boating Industry Training Organisation are addressing two significant issues which affect both our society and our economy:

BITO’s Response to Labour Shortages

Firstly, they are actively responding to labour shortages in their sector, and their efforts are bearing fruit. This is obvious from the number of graduates I can see before me today.

There has been steady growth in the number of industry trainees, particularly notably, over the past two years:

As at 31 December 1999 there were 196 trainees, 200 at the end of December 2000, and an impressive leap to 365 at the end of 2001. There are currently 390 industry trainees involved in the boating sector.

Notably, 68% of BITO’s trainee targets were achieved in the first 2 quarters of this year.

BITO has developed a wide range of qualifications. They include: National Certificate in Boatbuilding Composite Boatbuilding - Level 4 Wooden Boatbuilding - Level 4 Alloy Boatbuilding - Level 4 Steel Boatbuilding - Level 4 Marine Cabinetmaking - Level 4 Marine Systems Engineering - Level 4 Sparmaking (Metal) - Level 4
Sparmaking (Composites) - Level 4 Marine Rigging - Level 4 Marine Painting - Level 4 Marine Electrical & Electronic Installation - Level 3

National Certificate in Marine Sales & Services Marine Retailing - Level 2 Boat Sales & Brokerage - Level 4

BITO’s Response to Needs of Maori and Pasifika People

Maori and Pasifika people, the descendents of some of the greatest navigators and quality boat builders of all time, continue to be under-represented in training and employment.

It is pleasing to know that BITO, and the mainly Auckland based industry it serves, has made the connection between vacancies and job seekers.

In particular I congratulate BITO and Te Wananga O Aotearoa on getting together and co-operating to support a pre-trade boat-building course, in South Auckland. I also understand that BITO also supported the training provider in getting the necessary accreditation to run this course. It is this collaboration and co-operation of this type that I hope to see throughout the tertiary education sector in future.

BITO has also supported the purchase of a Training Opportunities/Youth Training course at Skills Update in West Auckland. Again, BITO assisted the training provider to acquire the necessary accreditation to provide training in boat laminating.

Modern Apprenticeships

The Modern Apprenticeships initiative is another avenue that BITO is using to assist young people to make the transition from school to employment.

Modern Apprenticeships is a work-based initiative which combines the best of the traditional apprenticeship with a modern dimension.

A fresh look at a traditional concept means that both employers and employees are given a level of support not seen in traditional apprenticeships.

I suppose I could liken Modern Apprenticeships to the ancient craft of boat building - I’m sure that today’s building techniques draw on both the tried and tested methods, developed over a period of years, as well as modern developments, which reflect today’s needs, technology and environment.

The aim of the initiative is to help more young people access employment based training towards national qualifications, and Modern Apprenticeships is proving very effective at doing just that.

As at 30 June 2002, BITO had 165 Modern Apprentices.

Appointed as a Modern Apprenticeships co-ordinator, BITO has the role of facilitating the apprenticeship process. They liaise between employers, ITOs, training providers, and support the employment process. The Modern Apprenticeship co-ordinator plays a pivotal role in the apprenticeship partnership.

Growth of Modern Apprenticeship Numbers

In fact, the number of Modern Apprentices has grown to such an extent that BITO has now appointed a second full-time Field Officer to support the on-job training and assessment requirements of the training.

Such growth is reflected in Modern Apprentices nationwide – there are more than 3 800 Modern Apprentices in training right now. Government’s aim to have 6 000 Modern Apprentices in training by December 2003 is well on the way to being achieved.

Acknowledgement for this achievement has to go to the industries themselves, for being prepared to take on a Modern Apprentice, the fine work of the co-ordinators, and the apprentices, for taking advantage of this alternative learning opportunity.


Graduates, you are sailing on the crest of an exciting new phase in your lives.

The discipline and hard work that has helped you achieve your National Certificates has shown what you are capable of. Can I encourage you – please don’t stop here. Continue to reach out for even more challenges and knowledge and growth – for your own development and satisfaction as much as for the progress and development of your chosen field.

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