Currently only 2.4% of students move directly into an apprenticeship with The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) after they leave school. The organisation is acting to change that.
Its new digital platform, myBCITO, promotes construction careers and helps school leavers become work-ready by directly engaging with teachers and students.
“Given New Zealand’s ongoing shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry, we saw this as an area where significant improvement could be made,” says BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn.
“We know the construction industry needs at least 25,000 qualified people in the next five years to meet demand. However, new research conducted by BCITO has found that only 2.4% of school leavers start a BCITO apprenticeship within their first year after leaving school,” says Quinn.
Currently the average age a person starts a BCITO apprenticeship is 25 and in carpentry, 45% of apprentices have a post-school qualification.
“Our aim is to start interacting with teachers and students earlier to encourage school leavers to see a career in the trades as a good, and aspirational career choice,” says Quinn.
“We want New Zealanders to see a career in the trades as something to aspire to, not fall into.”
Research conducted by BERL found that the total cumulative income earned by tradespeople at the age of 35 is higher than those with any university qualification, including law, medicine, commerce and engineering, setting them up earlier to be more financially stable and prosperous throughout their life.
“The opportunity to earn while you learn and having the first two years of eligible programmes free of fees makes apprenticeship an excellent choice for school leavers,” says Quinn.
myBCITO was launched at an event held at Green Bay High School in Auckland today. Students and teachers at the school have been testing the platform for several weeks and it will be rolled out to all secondary schools across the country in 2018.
The event was attended by Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, and Hon Jenny Salesa, Minister for Building and Construction.