Getting qualified workers is a struggle for many NZ construction companies. However, the construction industry is in part to blame for this problem as companies become reluctant to take on and train workers due to the boom-bust cycle of the industry (not wanting to be caught over-staffed). Also the current training model does not necessarily lend itself to the cyclical nature of the industry.
The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) has been given approval to look into a staged training model (Radio NZ article here). This would allow trainees to complete their apprenticeship in stages taking advantage of the higher workloads at certain times of the cycle. The intent is also to provide employers with confidence when employing someone who may have completed some but not all of an apprenticeship.
The lack of any formal qualification in highly skilled areas (such as digger operating) is also raised in the article and the ability for workers to gain some level of recognition for the skills they have developed as being highly important.
Any incentive to further develop and record the skill levels of NZ workers is a sensible development. Provided the courses and certification are run effectively it will see greater confidence in the workforce in general and potentially higher pay for certifications of skills that are in high demand.
The scheme is being developed, in collaboration with industry, over this year. We will no doubt hear more on these proposals in future.