Today’s Apprentice is Tomorrow’s Foreman

Why apprenticeships work so well

With New Zealand’s construction industry going ballistic, a lot of construction companies are looking to hire new staff. Do they stick with their subbies, bring in qualified builders or take on an apprentice? Stefan Cammell, owner of Cammell Projects in Queenstown believes it’s an employer’s responsibility to upskill the next generation and take on apprentices.

“Taking on an apprentice is an investment in the future of your business and the construction industry”

“Taking on an apprentice is an investment in the future of your business and the construction industry,” says Stefan, who’s been building for 20 years. “It’s a win-win. You’re helping train someone young and motivated and they’re picking up how your business operates, the ethics of your company and your systems. When they become qualified they’re a huge asset to your business.”

What makes a good apprentice?

Cammell Projects’ most recent recruit is 26-year-old Heather Scott-Smith, who joined the crew in May 2018 after responding to a Facebook ad.

“I messaged Stef and said ‘I’m a chick, can I apply for the job?’ and he said ‘of course!’, which was awesome because I’ve had some people treat me differently because I’m female,” says Heather, who’s welcomed the move from her hometown of Dunedin to bustling Queenstown.

“Heather is an example of a great apprentice,” says Stefan, who’s brought on six apprentices over the past nine years. “She’s diligent, listens, takes on board information and works hard. That’s what you need to look for when bringing someone on.”

Two years into a four-year apprenticeship with BCITO (New Zealand’s largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships), Heather loves learning something new every day in a supportive working environment. The hardest part of the job?

“The frustrated look on Stef’s face when I don’t understand what he’s talking about!” she jokes. “It’s great to work for someone who wants to do big jobs not little patch ups. We’re both going in the same direction and I want to work for Stef for many years to come.”

Apprenticeships well worth the time and effort

Stefan says he gets a real kick out of watching his apprentices grow and become skilled but admits it’s more than just teaching the nuts and bolts of carpentry.

“A lot of apprentices are straight out of school so you’re teaching them life skills as much as how to be a builder. You’re teaching them how to turn up to work on time, interact with adults, look after themselves… so it’s a guidance role as well.”

A member of New Zealand Certified Builders, Stefan urges business owners to take the teaching role seriously.

“Apprentice training needs to be treated with respect.”

“Apprentice training needs to be treated with respect. Signing off training units when the apprentice isn’t up to standard isn’t helpful to the apprentice or the industry – it undermines the whole scheme. There’s an onus on the builder to make sure their apprentice is getting the training they need and achieving sign off once competent.”

If you are thinking of employing an apprentice and would this to discuss the impact it may have on your business, call us on (06) 878 8824.

What is your Business doing to attract the next Generation?

Gen Z (born after 1995) are tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinkers – people you want on your team.

Here are four ways to attract and retain New Zealand’s next generation of workers.

1. Tinker with your tech

Gen Z live and breathe technology – they don’t know life without it. You’ll need to enable your people to collaborate and communicate in the cloud and on any device as well as provide video calling using FaceTime or Zoom.

2. Keep it simple when you hire

These digital natives suss everything on their smartphones, including jobs. Keep your job ad short and sweet, make it easy and fast for people to apply and include a short video of your office or a staff testimonial. Invite people to record a one-minute video to introduce themselves and add to their application.

3. Hone in on health

Health and wellness is a top priority but you don’t need a massive budget. From free gym passes, fruit baskets or a healthy lunch shout – staff wellness programmes come in all shapes and sizes.

4. Encourage their entrepreneurial spirit

Gen Z are more likely to look for a piece of the business pie. They understand business ownership and will want to know how their role impacts all facets of your company. Take this seriously and you could be on to a winner.

Minimum Wage Increase – 1 April 2019

More than 200,000 New Zealanders and their families will benefit from the New Zealand minimum wage increase to $17.70 an hour on 1 April 2019. This is an increase of $1.20.

The starting-out minimum wage and training minimum wage rates will increase from $13.20 to $14.16 per hour (remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage).

The Government has also set indicative rates of $18.90 from 1 April 2020 and to $20 from 1 April 2021. These rates will be subject to each year’s annual review.

To find out more about the minimum wage increase, head to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website or call us anytime on (06) 878 8824.