Home News Building and housing Increase in young construction workers

March 2022

Increase in young construction workers

28 Feb 2022, Building and housing, News

The number of young construction workers jumped nearly 20% in November 2021, while the amount of tradies overall went up by 8.6%

Stats NZ revealed a 17% increase in workers aged between 15 and 19, which outperforms their construction industry peers in all other age groups by at least 5%.

Ministry of Education (MoE) stats showed that there’s been a 49% increase in the number of apprenticeships overall between August 2019 and August 2021. At the end of 2021, around 21,000 of these were construction apprentices – a number set to increase to 25,000 in the next few years.

There were high rates of growth among Māori (67%) and Pacific Peoples (66%), as well as women (103%). However, women still only represent 5% of BCITO apprentices.

The MoE report said: “The continued strength in construction during the Covid-19 pandemic helped contribute to significant growth in apprentice numbers.”

Increases across the board

Data showed that, as of December 2021, there were 292,000 people employed in the construction sector – an increase from 277,000 in December 2020. The number of women in the industry has also gone up from 39,000 in December 2020 to 41,000 in December 2021.

Consent records were shattered in 2021 as the year ended March (41,028) and year ended December (48,899) set new highs. Both months beat the previous high, set in February 1974, of 40,025. When contacted by Under Construction, BCITO Director Jason Hungerford said the number of filled jobs in construction has been spurred by residential building construction and building structure services.

“The industry demand for apprentices has been fuelled by the need for housing, record consent numbers, restricted immigration, and government funding schemes (the $380.6m Apprenticeship Support Program encompassing the Apprenticeship Boost, Mana in Mahi, Regional Apprenticeships Initiative and the Group Training Scheme) support providing an additional incentive.”

Government support still available

The Apprenticeship Boost provides employers with a first-year apprentice $1,000 a month, or $500 a month for a second year apprentice for a maximum period of 20 months. Employers can receive a maximum of $16,000 per apprentice. The program will run until August 2022.

More information can be found at workandincome.govt.nz/work/apprentice-support/.

A nationwide skill shortage means now has never been a better time to get into the industry, Hungerford continued.

“People working in construction have many employment choices and qualified tradespeople with the right attitude are in demand across the country.”

Employers looking to take on an apprentice can get practical support from BCITO, added Hungerford.

“Local area teams can talk you through the process of how to get started and how apprenticeships work. You’ll also find out about all the resources BCITO has available to support you and your business when you get involved in training.”

BCITO is able to support employers who train apprentices via an online learning portal or pastoral support including access to Employee Assistance Program support. For more information, visit bcito.org.nz.


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