24 Mar 2014

Call for thousands more apprentices

6:30 pm on 24 March 2014

A construction training group says New Zealand is woefully short of apprentices and needs another 5000 in order to meet demand, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch.

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Photo: RNZ

The Building Construction Industry Training Organisation says that is despite a lot more people signing up for apprenticeships last year. More than 3200 apprentices signed up, compared to just over 2000 in 2012.

Chief executive Ruma Karaitiana says although that's the biggest increase in recent times, the industry is still short by about 5000 apprentices.

Mr Karaitiana said Christchurch people can't cope with living in earthquake-damaged homes for another year, and Auckland now has an acute housing shortage.

"Before the recession, our organisation would've normally had just on 10,000 apprentices in training. As of the beginning of 2013, we've dropped below 500. But we're coming out of the recession with the rebuild on Christchurch and all the focus on new housing in Auckland as pretty well additional factors on top."

Some companies in Christchurch are concerned they might not have the work for new apprentices they take on.

However, the Registered Master Builders Association says they need to look ahead to the intense demand of the next few years.