To reach a sustainable level of qualifi ed tradespeople, the construction industry needs dedicated employers to train apprentices. A recent Department of Labour survey (Skills in the Labour Market – March 2006) indicated that skill shortages were still prevalent in the construction industry, identifying a shortage of labour as the main constraint for 34% of builders as at December 2005.
Industry training has come a long way from the days of the “time served” apprenticeship. Today, training is more flexible, paperwork is kept to a minimum and most transactions take place on site with a BCITO training advisor.
Training an apprentice takes time and commitment but it can also bring rewards and benefits to the business including:
• the right mix of skills: industry training enables a business owner to have a variety of skills on the team, from junior apprentices to more experienced supervisors and foremen,
• securing the future of your business: training and upskilling staff now will ensure your business has the right people to prosper in the future,
• improving staff retention: encouraging staff to become qualified works as an incentive and creates motivated, more productive staff with an increased loyalty to the business, reducing staff turnover which is a significant cost saving, and
• increasing productivity: research has shown that even while training is taking place, overall productivity is greater. Staff have more skills, are more efficient and can do the work right the first time.
• improving your bottom line: workplace training can improve financial outcomes for your business by decreasing wasted time and materials, workplace accidents, recruitment costs and absenteeism.
Currently more than 4000 employers are training around 8000 apprentices with the BCITO. Workplace training does not always involve taking on a new apprentice straight from school. Approximately 20% of employees working in the sectors covered by the BCITO are involved in workplace training, meaning there’s huge potential for employers to encourage current staff to upskill and get qualified.
The development of two new qualifications from the BCITO — the National Certificate in Construction Leading Hand and National Certificate in Construction Supervisors — are designed specifically to meet this need to upskill more experienced staff.
Similarly, workplace training can benefit staff in a variety of ways. Workplace training enables staff to gain formal recognition of their skills with a qualification that is designed by industry for industry, ensuring the skills learnt are ones that are relevant and beneficial to the workplace.
If you are dedicated to ensuring the future of the construction industry through training programmes, or you would like to gain formal recognition of your skills with an industry qualification, contact your local BCITO office on 0800 422 486 or visit our web site for more information: www.bcito.org.nz.