By: Karla Karaitiana

TRAINING: Humphries Construction junior project manager Dion Cooper shows students around the Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) site on the corner of Church and Pitt streets. PHOTO: KARLA KARAITIANA

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation’s (BCITO) Big Construction Tour was in Palmerston North last week, giving 60 Manawatu High School students the chance to visit some of the country’s biggest construction sites.

BCITO chief executive Warwick Quinn says in the midst of a nationwide construction skills shortage, this is a great way for students to learn the value of a career in this sector.

“The construction industry is in desperate need of skilled apprentices. While the Government has announced 43,000 New Zealanders are engaged in an apprenticeship, this is still nowhere near enough to meet demand.

“We need thousands more apprentices each year, which means attracting new recruits to the industry is critical.”

As of March this year, the construction industry had seen almost all regions grow, with only three below their 2016 year-to-date levels.

“The standout performer in the North Island is the Manawatu/Whanganui region which is up 42 per cent on 2016 year-to-date levels,” Quinn says.

Students were hand-picked after showing an interest in the industry, and BCITO were impressed to see the largest number of participants coming from Palmerston North Girls High School (PNGHS).

PNGHS student Aareta Mohi, whose grandfather is a builder, said she was looking to widen her skills.

“I wanted to try something new and have the chance to see what it was like in the industry. Us girls really loved it.

“We can definitely see a place for ourselves in the industry because it really opened our eyes to the huge variety of opportunities on offer.”

Source: Manawatu Guardian

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