The shortage of advanced scaffolders in New Zealand has made it challenging to meet the rising demand for this construction industry skill. Though scaffolding is included on Immigration NZ’s Canterbury skills shortage and the immediate skills shortage lists, it is missing on its long- term skilled shortages list or list of skilled occupations. SARNZ chief executive, Graham Burke, has already called this omission to attention.
Now, the industry group has announced a new scaffolding apprenticeship programme in collaboration with Skills and Tai Poutini Polytechnic, and in consultation with industry leaders. Starting January 2018, the program will help successful individuals gain the New Zealand Certificate in Scaffolding (Trade) Level 4 and include the New Zealand Certificate in Scaffolding (General) Level 3. It is part of SARNZ’s initiative to assist interested individuals with their aspirations to enter the scaffolding industry and ensure that consistently high quality continues being delivered.
To work legally as a scaffolder, individuals require a Certificate of Competence. The New Zealand Scaffolding Apprenticeship is an excellent opportunity to gain gainful employment as a professional scaffolder. Given the need for advanced scaffolders on the back of the building boom, individuals are also advised to pursue their Advanced status after receiving their Elementary and Intermediate certification.
A more recent news article indicated that a record number of Kiwis are seeking to build a career in the trades but the number of professionals required far exceeds the number of current qualified professionals. The trend is expected to persist into the 2020s and apprenticeship numbers are at a record high. Scaffold training is managed by Skills - an industry training organisation - who work closely with SARNZ to ensure industry has a say in the content and delivery of qualifications.
Individuals with no prior industry experience may attend a pre-employment course, while Skills can work with those who are currently employed (and their employer) to offer an apprenticeship leading to their Scaffolding Certificates of Competence.
Those holding a National Certificate in Scaffolding (Elementary) (Level 3) can leverage this program to move up to a level 4 qualification. Skills will assess prior qualifications and relevant experience to suggest the best pathway to qualification.
The qualifications are reviewed from time to time to keeping the requirements and best interests of both the industry and learners in mind. Skills recent review of qualifications revealed a need for redesign, and the latest program covers all the skills needed by the industry.
Interested individuals and employers can sign up for the apprenticeship in the New Year. The list of courses can be accessed at the Skills website from 1 December 2017. In support of SARZ and this programme, SafeSmart Access are offering employers a special deal on scaffolding tools for new apprentices. For each new apprentice, a SafeSmart Access SCAFF KIT (sold for $350) will come with a $200 discount voucher for the employer to spend on any SafeSmart Access purchase.