14 Aug 2018

Govt should use building levy to train new workers - BCITO

9:47 am on 14 August 2018

The government should use a building levy fund to subsidise training of apprentices by construction firms, according to the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).

Man in high vis gear at building site.Architecture, Construction Safety, First Concept image.

Photo: Rawpixel Ltd.

BCITO chief executive Warwick Quinn said there is $30 million in the fund, sitting unused, and it could be spent to help double the number of apprentices being trained and alleviate a labour shortage.

The building levy is collected from firms when they apply for building consent, and is usually spent on sector administration, regulation, and enforcement of the Building Act.

"If we don't address the training issues that we've got now and make some fundamental adjustments to incentivise firms and people to come into construction, if you think we've got a problem now, you wait, in five to six years, it'll be worse," Mr Quinn said.

He said the fund, which is administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, should be "repurposed".

The boom in building consents in recent years has resulted in a large surplus.

Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa has been consulting with officials about the BCITO suggestion.