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Region ‘needs new builders’

Hendrik Paans, 24, second from left, receives his building qualification from BCITO training adviser Peter van der Veen, after completing his apprenticeship with Tunnicluffe Builders Ltd, represented by his boss Blair Tunnicluffe, left, and business owners Sophie and Greg Tunnicliffe, right.

By Gerald Ford

The building industry in Wairarapa and nationwide is crying out for new apprentices, according to a regional training adviser.

“There are so many builders looking for apprentices at the moment,” Peter van der Veen of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) said last week.

“We need young people straight out of college. We don’t want them doing any pre-courses, they can learn as they earn.”

New Zealand, according to Mr van der Veen “needs 3000 builders yesterday. People are looking for apprentices and they just can’t get any”.

After speaking with Midweek, Mr van der Veen was heading to Wairarapa College to lead a maths class – focussing on topics useful to the building industry including trigonometry or the science of angles.

“It’s just to show them that the maths they are using now has use in the real world.”

Mr van der Veen acknowledged that many students don’t know what they want to do with their future, but suggests, “if you plant the seed …”.

On Wednesday last week Mr van der Veen presented a certificate to newly qualified builder Hendrik Paans, who has been apprenticed to Wairarapa business Tunnicliffe Builders Ltd.

“Now he has met the minimum qualification standard, he can go out and get the experience, and become a great builder, and maybe take on apprentices himself,” Mr van der Veen said.

Mr Paans is a former student of Ponatahi Christian School who actually completed a Bachelor of Horticulture at Massey University before scanning around for work and deciding on a change of direction.

“I didn’t have work at the time and he (boss Blair Tunnicliffe) was looking for somebody,” Mr Paans said.

“I stuck with it for a few weeks and thought I might as well get the piece of paper.”

“You’re doing it every day anyway and you can get paid while you earn,” Mr Tunnicliffe said.

In conjunction with the BCITO, some secondary schools are already schooling up trainees and teaching industry skills, such as the Gateway programme at Kuranui College.

Through this initiative, Mr Tunnicliffe is giving work experience to a student from the college.

Mr Paans is the fifth apprentice the company has trained up – including Mr Tunnicliffe himself who was trained by his father Greg.

Having been qualified for several years now, Mr Tunnicliffe is now heading back into education to gain a “site supervisor” certificate.

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