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Covid Forces ATT Awards To Go Virtual As Spotlight Shines On Apprenticeships

Covid forces ATT awards to go virtual as spotlight shines on apprenticeships

The annual graduation and award ceremony for ATT, one of New Zealand’s largest apprenticeship organisations, has gone virtual this year to celebrate the achievements of 89 apprentices across the country.

The event was delivered virtually to an audience of host businesses, and family and friends of each graduating and award winning apprentice plumber, electrician, gas-fitter and drainlayer.

The graduation and awards coincides with growing attention on apprenticeships due to ongoing demand for trade skills, a supportive Government and economic uncertainty making trades an attractive career option.

For many of the last 29 years, ATT has held events to celebrate the graduation of its apprentices and award those who have excelled. Last year’s events were held at The Auckland War Memorial Museum and Commodore Hotel, Christchurch.

With Covid restrictions this year, the national virtual event has continued the tradition; albeit a bit differently.

Helen Stephens said ATT recognises the importance of marking the occasion at a critical time, as New Zealand rebuilds:

“Apprentices are needed now more than ever, and while we’ve all experienced major disruptions this year, it hasn’t dented the long term need to grow trade skills.

“The housing shortage remains, along with a need for more infrastructure, borders are still closed and are likely to be for some time, and apprenticeships are an attractive career option as alternatives become more uncertain. The current Government is also very supportive and recognises the importance of training apprentices even in these challenging times,” she says.

The graduating apprentices have trained as part of ATT’s managed apprentice scheme, that recruits, employs and places apprentices into host businesses with the aim of providing trade training opportunities for Kiwis and delivering quality tradespeople to the construction industry. Twenty seven received awards to recognise their achievements and progress through their apprenticeship.

ATT is the largest employer of plumbing apprentices in the country and works in partnership with around 200 host businesses in the plumbing, electrical, gasfitting and drainlaying trades.

The sector had $1.6bn earmarked for it in the Budget 2020, to support trade training as a way to secure productive careers for young New Zealanders.

Helen Stephens says there’s growing interest in apprenticeships in general:

“Usually at this time of the year we receive a higher number of enquiries as students in their final years at school start to think about their longer term job prospects. We are also seeing more enquiries from people changing careers, recognising the job security trades provide.

“Covid has highlighted how important our tradies are and made people relook at the trades as a great career choice.

“Having a trade under your belt is a definite advantage as it provides long term opportunities and the chance to earn and learn at the same time. While these have always been attractions of trades training, the current environment is highlighting them.”

ATT is sponsored by well-known companies in the trade sector including: Plumbing World, Dux, Rheem, Powerbase, Toolware, GWA Group, The Skills Organisation, Peter Diver Plumbing and Drainage and Nexans.

ATT is a registered charitable trust that recruits, employs and places apprentices into ‘host’ businesses in the plumbing, gasfitting, drainlaying and electrical trades. ATT calls this the ‘managed-apprentice model.’

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