News

News

August 22nd, 2016

Got a Trade? Got it Made! Week is here!

Ben Norton profile

Got A Trade Week is back for 2016. The national campaign to raise awareness of on-the-job training and careers in New Zealand’s trades and services is returning 22-26 August. The week also celebrates the talents and achievements of Kiwis making headway in their vocation.

The multi-channel campaign has been co-organised by Competenz and seven of the country’s industry training organisations representing more than 140 trades and services. Got A Trade will be promoted on TV, radio and via digital channels throughout August and into the beginning of September.

Competenz’ CEO Fiona Kingsford says that there are misconceptions on what a trade can represent. And that on-the-job training encompasses industries as diverse as butchery, to manufacturing, to refrigeration and air conditioning .

“There is a real and genuine demand from all trades for skilled people – for example we need 2,300 new people to butchery by 2020, while the mechanical engineering sector needs 5,400 new people in the same period in order to meet employment growth and replacement demand. Genuine career opportunities currently exist in 140 trades and services in New Zealand, yet the current housing crisis has led the public to mostly focus on the opportunities in the building and construction sectors,” said Kingsford.

“The manufacturing sector is most in need and calling out for 40,000 new people for it to keep up with growth and demand in the next four years. That’s an astounding yet exciting number of people learning new skills and contributing to moving our economy forward.”

In an increasingly technical world, the practical skills that can be gained in workplace training teach apprentices to help turn ideas, innovation and great thinking into reality.

“These are not just manual labour jobs; there’s been a shift towards highly skilled and technical roles. In today’s job market practical intelligence and technical trades are in very high demand, and this translates in to excellent earning potential,” said Kingsford.

Three years into his apprenticeship and by the end of each weekend, Ben Norton is looking forward to starting work again on Monday in the engineering workshop of Compac Sorting Equipment.

“I get paid to pursue and learn more about my passion all day. I thrive on the attention to detail, the satisfaction of taking a lump of raw steel and transforming it into a functional machine part. I’ve scarcely had a dull day since I started – one day I’ll be welding, turning and machining a drum-roller from scratch in manual and CNC machining centres, the next day I’ll be flying to South Carolina to help install a peach sorting machine. I couldn’t be happier or luckier.

“Of course being an apprentice I’m very good mates with the broom too – but that’s just as important as the finished product,” said Norton.

Kingsford says school leavers like Ben who were encouraged by their family and school to pursue trades training, will ultimately reap the rewards of a country demanding a skilled workforce.

“Trades and workplace training offers a genuine career pathway and there are rich opportunities for the trades in New Zealand now, with the well-documented skills shortage and the demand for skilled labour into the future.”

While employers benefit from training their people to nationally recognised qualifications.

“Businesses who employ apprentices are building the skills that help their operations run productively and safely, while lifting quality and reducing downtime and waste – as well as boosting employee confidence, job satisfaction and loyalty. All this means a more competitive business. It also means the industry as a whole benefits from a more skilled pool of talent,” says Kingsford.

“With only 28 percent of school leavers going to university, Got a Trade Week is about showcasing the opportunities that exist out there for the other 72 percent.”

Got a Trade Week will be launched at Parliament on Monday 22 August. The week also features the Future Business Leader’s Forum and Awards on Thursday 25 August where New Zealand’s ‘bright young things’ in trades and services will gather to learn about furthering their careers.