Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met with a Dunedin apprentice and his employer recently to highlight the Government’s new Fees Free policy at the opening of the refurbished Dunedin Law Courts.
Casey Bosscher is doing his carpentry apprenticeship through the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).
He is encouraging apprentices to take advantage of the Government’s new policy which, from January 1, has made industry training fees free for the first two years of an apprenticeship for eligible first-time learners enrolling in eligible programmes.
Casey has been working for Amalgamated Builders, which worked on the seismic strengthening and refurbishment of the Dunedin Law Courts, since July 2016 when he was offered employment.
After working in a number of other professions, Casey chose to upskill in carpentry because he believes it is a great, hands-on career that will enable him to get out and about instead of working in one place, and offers excellent career opportunities.
It also fits into his future aspiration of building his own home and being able to help family and friends.
Casey says the new fees free policy will appeal to those considering an apprenticeship, as well as to employers considering taking on further apprentices through the BCITO.
BCITO chief executive Warwick Quinn says the demand for skilled workers in the construction industry is very high across all trades and regions.
More than 65,000 construction workers are needed over the next five years, and a little under half of those need to be trade qualified.
“We need to be training more apprentices to meet this demand. We hope that by having the first two years of eligible programmes free of fees this will encourage employers to take on more apprentices, and encourage more New Zealanders to choose an apprenticeship,” Mr Quinn says.
“With the demand for skilled workers in the industry and the incentive of two years fees free, there has never been a better time to consider a career in the trades.”