A new scheme is being trialed this year that will formally recognise the learning and development that construction workers gain on-site. What will this new qualification framework involve, and what will it mean for those looking for construction jobs?
A flexible approach to construction qualifications
The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) is trialing a new scheme later this year that will place more importance on the skills and experience that construction workers gain as they work, and formally count these towards qualifications. The proposed framework would acknowledge the individual skills trainees gained as part of their careers and allow them to complete a qualification over multiple positions rather than a single long-term placement.
Radio New Zealand announced last month that BCITO had gained approval from the Tertiary Education Commission and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to research and pilot the idea. It is currently in the process of researching how the scheme will best help the industry and workers, and plans to begin the pilot around the middle of the year.
A pressing demand for construction staffing
New Zealand's construction industry is struggling to meet the demands placed on it, primarily due to the Canterbury rebuild and Auckland's housing shortage. According to Statistics New Zealand, there were more than 30,000 new dwellings consented in the year ending in November 2016, up 13 per cent over the previous year. The government has estimated the building boom will require an extra 49,000 workers between 2015 and 2021, Radio New Zealand reports. Warwick Quinn, BCITO's Chief Executive, says that although there are a record number of apprentices currently being trained, more are still needed to meet the demand.
The shortage is partly a problem of commitment. Kevin Stanley, general manager of the building company Stanley Group, told Radio New Zealand that the cyclical 'boom-bust' nature of the construction industry means employers are wary of making the up-to-five-year commitment of training an apprentice. Although they want to take on new people during the boom periods, they're more focused on getting the work done while it's there than training people up for the future, when a bust period may mean they aren't needed. He says that a flexible approach to recognising gained skills was a positive step.
"Being able to break some of those things down I think will be encouraging, and because we can train people quicker and get more circulation of staff I think that will be an incentive for employers to take on more trainees," Stanley told Radio New Zealand.
What will the new scheme mean for job seekers?
If BCITO's plan is put into general practice, it will put job seekers in a better position to build up their recognised skills as they work. Rather than having to commit to a job for as long as it takes to complete a qualification, you will be free to move between roles as the work is available, safe in the knowledge that the experience and ability you're developing are still going to count towards it.
The scheme will offer particular benefit to construction workers who are regularly moving between temporary placements, as the more flexible approach to qualifications won't exclude them from recognition.
How Tradestaff can help
Tradestaff finds construction and labour jobs for workers looking for either permanent or temporary positions. Under this new scheme, it will be even easier for us to find you the right role for your level and abilities, and this will be the case even if you're still in the process of gaining formal qualifications.
No matter what stage you're at with your qualifications and skill development, Tradestaff can find you work that suits you and your abilities. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.
almost 4 years ago by Will Percy