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Tradie Paris has it made

Ambassador apprentice carpenter Paris Ternent-James on the new Tumu ITM site. PHOTO/ CAL ROBERTS

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More apprentices are needed to meet demand in the construction industry, and prospective tradies are catching on to the benefits of on-the-job learning.

Wairarapa’s Paris Ternent-James is completing a national certificate in carpentry, working with MB Brown Ltd on the new Tumu ITM site on Ngaumutawa Rd.

She is one of the few female Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation carpentry apprentices in the region.

As a BCITO ambassador for the campaign, “Got a Trade? Got it Made!” Ternent-James was at Parliament for the launch of Got a Trade week on Monday.

The 22-year-old said she was drawn to carpentry after working on a sheep and beef farm.

“It was a good job . . . it just wasn’t for me – but I still wanted a practical and rewarding job.”

Her brother-in-law is a builder.

“He used to come home and be telling these cool stories, and I thought it sounded awesome, I wanted to get into that.”

She comes from a family of tradies, with three generations of hairdressers.

Her grandparents, mother and sister had all cut hair, but Paris decided to break the mould.

She said getting paid to learn on the job was a bonus, but what she really enjoyed was the practical focus.

“You can see how it’s done, and then get stuck in straight away and do it.

“It’s hands-on, it’s how I like to learn.”

Ternent-James would like to see more women apprenticed in trades like carpentry.

“I don’t see what’s stopping them.”

She said it was possible women did not think the job was for them, or did not know enough about it.

“But I reckon if they are keen enough, they should give it a go.”

The number of female apprentices is increasing, but according to the Ministry of Education, they still only make up 12 per cent of New Zealand’s total on-the-job learners.

Industry Training Federation chief executive Josh Williams said there were already 145,000 Kiwis in formal on-the-job training, “and we need more”.

“The problem is that only 4 per cent of school leavers get involved in an on-the-job tertiary education when they leave school. We want to change this.”

He said university-educated New Zealanders were coming around to trades training too.

“Last year, over half [55 per cent] of our new industry trainees and apprentices already had a tertiary qualification, 24 per cent had completed degrees.”

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