Record 16,000 apprentices in building trades training

BCITO announced late last year that it has 16,000 apprentices in training – an all-time record.

To mark this milestone, Building and Construction Minister, Hon Poto Williams, and BCITO interim CEO, Greg Durkin, visited a Kāinga Ora housing project in Cannons Creek, Wellington where they met Sam Skinner, owner of Skinner & Skinner Building Company Ltd (SSBC), a carpentry business that has just taken on four apprentices.

Speaking onsite, Minister Williams says, “I am delighted to present this award to SSBC, for their direct contribution to increasing apprenticeship numbers and supporting BCITO to reach their highest number of apprentices in active training, ever.

“Construction is a critical part of the New Zealand economy – employing around ten percent of the national workforce and contributing around 7 percent of GDP.

“This Government recognises how important it is for New Zealand to have a resilient and high-performing construction sector,” Minister Williams said.

BCITO interim CEO, Greg Durkin says, “It is great to see more employers taking on apprentices and so many young people going into training. It’s an absolute win-win. The apprentice gets to earn while they learn, and for the employer it is an investment in their business and the industry.”

Sam Skinner says, “We took on more trainees because of all the work on the Kāinga Ora development in Cannons Creek. We’ve been helping people through their apprenticeships since 2012 and we still have our very first apprentice on the team.

“If an employer can take on an apprentice, they should. It’s very rewarding. It not only helps me keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry, it also helps me be an effective manager and trainer.”

SSBC currently has five carpentry apprentices, one is close to completing their training. They specialise in difficult residential renovations and new builds featuring sloping sites, poor access, staged excavations, high-level planning and logistics.

Interim CEO Durkin says that taking on an apprentice has never been easier, with the Government’s 2020 Budget offering significant investment in trade apprenticeships. As part of the $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package, $320 million has been set aside to support free trades training in critical industries, including the construction sector. A further $412 million has also been invested in the Apprenticeship Boost initiative which offers support for employers to retain apprentices and to hire and train more people.