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Construction sector needs to train more apprentices

Construction sector needs to train more apprentices

Targets set by the government in June indicated that the country will need at least 50,000 trade apprentices by 2020.

However, according to the latest figures, building companies are showing an unwillingness to take on apprentices.

While the number of registered trade apprentices has grown drastically over the past year from 1008 to 8370, the number of companies training these apprentices is only up from 420 to 4394 – a shortfall of over 3,000.

This indicates that despite the construction boom – apprentices are struggling to secure proper training, a fact which could ultimately damage the construction sector.

Registered Master Builder CEO David Kelly has revealed that just one in every ten construction companies is hiring apprentices.

Kelly blames the lagging uptake of apprentices on risk aversion and industry changes.

"Apprentices are the future of the industry and economy, but if you don't have long-term certainty employers are reluctant to take them on”.

This sentiment is echoed by Mike Bronkhorst, Director of DuraBuild Construction, a company of over 25 builders in Matakana, North of Auckland.

“There is going to be a lot of strain on the building industry to find reliable, skilled workers over the next five years with the response to the housing shortage”, comments Bronkhorst.

“It is important that building companies do their bit to ensure that we don’t fall short and start training up apprentices now – every apprentice deserves a fair go”.

With the typical four year apprenticeship length waning in popularity and many opting to condense their training, David Kelly believes it is now a better time than ever to take on an apprentice.

“The construction industry is cyclical – boom or bust, which means sometimes there is a lack of work and companies have to downsize”.

Kelly believes these shorter term apprenticeships, coupled with the current boom will minimise the risks associated with employing apprentices , however, the building industry needs to play their part in ensuring the current construction boom is future proofed.


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