Construction industry skills strategy presents opportunities for Maori and Pacifika

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Four key priorities to lifting skills throughout the building industry by 2020 have been identified by the joint Government-Industry Productivity Partnership under its Built Environment Skills Strategy endorsed by the Government.
Construction Industry Council chairman Pieter Burghout says the priorities fitted well with the industry’s drive for more recruits to participate in the approaching rise in sector activity to deal with the Canterbury rebuild, leaky building remediation and pent-up housing demand in Auckland.

The four priorities are:
• Getting it right first time — addressing quality issues and avoiding rework,
• Eliminating the downtime — effectively managing labour so it is better deployed and less time is wasted,
• Working towards meaningful careers — developing pathways into and through the industry so people have careers rather than jobs, and
• Multi-disciplinary teamwork — increasing collaboration between firms, different parts of the sector and education providers.

4% of GDP
Mr Burghout says the strategy is especially important because of the Government acceptance of the industry as a strong driver of economic growth that contributes more than 4% of GDP.
“When it comes to job provision, this industry can be one of the best generators of fresh employment, and its impact is felt throughout the economy in the creation of new positions within construction service industries,” Mr Burghout says.
“For every dollar invested in construction, three dollars of activity are generated across the economy, making it one of the most stimulatory sectors.”

Mr Burghout says the industry would need more than 10,000 new entrants with building-related skills to cope with the anticipated lift in construction activity next year.
“The need ranges through trades such as carpentry, plastering and tiling to management positions, all of which require specific skill sets.”
He says the drive to lift workforce skills should resonate in Pacific Island and Maori communities.
“A recent industry report from PricewaterhouseCoopers identified the sector as offering the fifth-highest employment rate for Maori and eighth-highest for Pacifika.

Significant employment opportunities
“The construction sector offers significant employment opportunities for these groups, making the consistent provision of work by the sector an important part of improving economic conditions for Maori and Pacific Island people.
“Endorsement of the strategy by Ministers Joyce and Williamson, as Ministers of Economic Development and Building and Construction respectively, is particularly important in this context.” Mr Burghout says.