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Improving perceptions of trades increasing apprenticeships

The number of Kiwis taking up building and construction apprenticeships has reached record high numbers.

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) recently reached 13,000 apprentices in active training. BCITO’s 13,000th apprentice is 30-year-old Tioirangi Smith who previously worked in hospitality and is now a carpentry apprentice for SLC Builders Ltd in the Wellington area.

“We are delighted to have such high numbers of apprentices joining. This demonstrates that many Kiwis are seeing the fantastic opportunities provided by a career in the trades. However, we still need more to join,” says Warwick Quinn, BCITO Chief Executive. “While our latest research shows that more parents, students and school leavers are becoming open to the trades, we’ve got a long way to go to reach the numbers required to meet skills demand.

“Our apprentices are setting themselves up for a bright future. Their jobs can be just as financially rewarding as getting a University degree, you can earn while you learn, and they offer a good work-life balance.

“The number of people open to a career in the trades has increased since last year’s research, particularly among women, Māori and Pasifika. As we celebrate reaching 13,000 active apprentices in training, it is clear we need to continue to excite students, school leavers and parents about opportunities in trade careers,” says Quinn.

“Employment forecasts estimate 80,000 new and replacement construction jobs opening in the next five years. To fill this demand, we need more people to start formal training now.”

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Apprentice Tioirangi Smith said he always wanted to be a builder.

“It was after I bought my first house that I decided to take the plunge and make the move. I aspire to renovate my own home and I am now learning the necessary skills to achieve this,” says Smith.

“It’s an extremely rewarding career. The trades give you practical skills you can use every day and you get to learn on the job rather than in the classroom,” says Smith.

Quinn stresses this is a great time to enter the trades. “There are a vast number of roles available. It is not all about being on the tools. Unless we shift the dial and educate people about the range of opportunities within the trades, we won’t be able to meet demand.”

Tioirangi Smith and SLC Builders Ltd were congratulated by Minister Jenny Salesa and Warwick Quinn with a presentation at his current building site in Days Bay, Eastbourne this morning.

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