‘Self-defeating’ not to hire apprentices, employer says

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Lue Shaw of Lobell Construction has hired more than 30 apprentices throughout his career and believes the future of the industry is reliant on more builders taking on apprentices.
Mr Shaw says everyone needs to play their part to ensure growth and succession in the industry.

“We employ apprentices because the industry has to have tradesmen, and unless someone trains them you don’t get anything. It’s self-defeating not to employ apprentices,” he says.

“I started hiring apprentices because I wanted to keep the industry moving and give the young fellows a chance. At the end of the day, if no one had given me an apprenticeship I couldn’t have started my company.

“Apprentices bring a lot of benefits to the business. They don’t come on board with a whole lot of preconceived ideas of how to do things that might not suit us, so you can train them the way you want from day one, which is invaluable.”

Mark Bell, winner of the Waikato Region Registered Master Builders Carters 2013 Apprentice of the Year, is an apprentice at Lobell Construction. Mr Shaw says there are numerous benefits of having an apprentice take part and succeed in Apprentice of the Year.

“Mark did really well competing in Apprentice of the Year last year. He is now a trainee foreman, and I put a lot of that leap forward down to the experience he gained during the competition,” he says.

“Apprentice of the Year is a great way to highlight an apprentice’s skills to his employer, workmates and potential employers, as well as building confidence.

“Mark’s confidence and his knowledge have really increased since he competed. That’s a huge benefit not only to him, but also to his workmates who stand to learn a lot from him and to us as his employers. As a company we get kudos for training people well, and it gets our name out there.”

Mr Shaw encourages all employers in the construction industry to take on apprentices.

“My advice to other employers is to select the apprentice carefully, taking into consideration his or her past background and record of work, but definitely take them on. It’s so worth it.”

Apprentices, employers and young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are encouraged to join the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/apprenticeoftheyear. For more information visit www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz

Owned by the Registered Master Builders Association, the Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor Carters, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), and supporting sponsor the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).