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Building Skills Shortage Imminent as Training Numbers Stall

20 April 2011

Building Skills Shortage Imminent as Numbers in Training Stall

Demand for skilled labour within the building and construction industry could outstrip that seen in the boom years leading up to 2007. Early indications are that New Zealand needs more than double the number of workers currently working in the industry in the medium term.

Mr Ruma Karaitiana, Chief Executive of the BCITO, said; “The boom and bust nature of our building industry is again rearing its head. This time however, the boom is advancing quickly and dramatically; this won’t be a gradual increase in activity as seen in previous cycles. Rebuilding in Canterbury, leaky-homes remedial work and pent-up housing shortages are set to suck-up every last building professional in the country”.

“Although this news is a relief for many builders, it poses serious challenges for industry training. Nationally, the number of people completing building trade qualifications has decreased by nearly 40 per cent since 2007. Quite simply, we do not currently have enough people in training to meet New Zealand’s future building needs” Mr Karaitiana said.

“The BCITO is now doing everything it can to raise awareness in the building industry of the importance to train now. We have young people ready to start working, but the reality is that many builders are still doing it tough, and are struggling to hire apprentices. We fear that by the time builders are ready to hire again, it will be too late” Mr Karaitiana said.

The BCITO is currently in preliminary discussions with other industry stakeholders to look at what new initiatives and strategies can be deployed to meet the challenge of these new circumstances.

“We are also looking to work closely with polytechnics, which do a great job of preparing the next generation of builders. However, theory is just one aspect of becoming a builder. We really need these young people on building sites, getting their hands dirty whilst applying best-practice building techniques. Employers therefore play a key part in delivering the skills we need” Mr Karaitiana said.

Employers within the building industry are encouraged to look at taking on apprentices now. Young people looking at careers in building may be hard to come by next year. The BCITO can be contacted on 0800 422 486.

ENDS

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