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NZCB builds on mentoring success with new initiative

New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) has introduced a new membership category, Rusty Hammers, in response to building market trends and inspired by the success of its current mentoring programme. Rusty Hammers is designed to enable older builders who are starting to wind-down their time spent on the tools to retain their trade association membership at reduced cost in exchange for providing mentoring to other builders at an earlier stage of their careers.

NZCB Chief Executive Grant Florence says with the ongoing high demand for builders and an increasingly complex regulatory and business landscape, it makes sense to find new ways to retain and continue to support highly skilled older builders while also harnessing their experience to nurture the next generation.

“With the positive response we’ve had to our mentoring programme, which has doubled in size since last year, this seemed like a no-brainer.

“Builders who’ve been on the job for decades have built up a depth of practical experience that inherently extends well beyond what younger builders have had a chance to learn as part of their formal apprenticeship training or in their first few years on-the-job. Having access to someone who’s ‘been there and done that’ is incredibly valuable for our younger members who are being mentored,” says Mr Florence.

To be eligible for NZCB’s Rusty Hammers membership category, builders need to be working for only around 20 hours per week and to have been a full NZCB member for over 10 years. They must also commit to mentoring a younger builder they are matched with for 12 months, meeting at regular intervals as agreed between the mentor and mentee.

The mentoring focuses not only on technical trade skills but also on business skills, leveraging the mentors’ decades of experience owning small-to-medium sized building businesses.

“Owning a small to medium sized business, as many of our members do, is challenging for anyone in any sector of the economy. In addition, in our sector there is ongoing regulatory change to navigate and new demands and opportunities from developments in building materials and technologies.

“Enabling early-career builders to learn from those who’ve run successful building businesses for a long time, and enabling those older builders to retain their membership of NZCB is a win-win for everyone, including consumers who ultimately benefit from this sharing of best practice,” says Mr Florence.

While the builders who are eligible for a Rusty Hammers membership pay a reduced membership fee, they continue to have access to all of NZCB’s services. These include ongoing professional development, advisory services, member products like the industry-leading Halo 10 year Residential Builders Guarantee and Certified Plans, and a range of resources such as template contracts.

“Our longstanding member builders want to retain their memberships because they see the value we provide, and Rusty Hammers is direct response to this. But we’re also seeing new membership numbers steadily increase year-on-year, particularly from builders in their first few years on the job who are seeking ongoing professional support and guidance, as well as a voice on industry issues,” says Mr Florence.

Since January 2019, NZCB has seen membership grow by 18%. Analysis shows the key drivers for new membership are access to NZCB’s services and the credibility and professionalism NZCB membership brings.

“NZCB was established specifically to raise standards in the building industry and, for this reason, it’s the only one of the two building trade associations that requires builders to hold formal trade qualifications to be eligible for membership.
“It’s also at the heart of our development of new initiatives like Rusty Hammers, which are all about leveraging the strengths of our membership to share best practice and build capability,” says Mr Florence.

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