10 Jun 2013

Building apprenticeships up, but skilled workers needed now

4:07 pm on 10 June 2013

There was a record 22% boost in building apprenticeships for the first quarter of this year with 270 more apprentices being taken in than this time last year.

Building site

Photo: RNZ

However, employers in the trade industry say the demand right now is for skilled workers rather than apprentices.

Craig McCord runs a plumbing business in Tauranga - he advertised for trained plumbers about three weeks ago and received one application.

He says the reason for the shortage of skilled workers is because training was halted three or four years ago.

MPG Plumbing and Gas Services managing director Craig McCord in Hamilton, agrees. He said it's going to take time before the gap in the job market is filled by the current crop of apprentices.

In January this year, the Government announced it would invest up to $40 million in incentives for trade apprentices and their employers.

Since then, the number of new building apprenticeships in the first quarter of this year has risen 22% on last year.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation chief executive Ruma Karaitiana said the organisation is now waiting on the Government to approve extra funding to accommodate more new apprentices.