New system pushes students to become tradespeople

Rowan Quinn

High school students are being encouraged to spurn university for a trade, with promises they can buy houses earlier than their academic counterparts.

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, which provides building apprenticeships, has launched a new system in schools that allows students to build their own CV of NCEA credits, skills and other qualifications.

Prospective employers will then be able to look directly at their work in the system.

Changing the Message

It is part of the organisation’s quest to get 2000 to 3000 more students a year into trades.

The organisation’s Chief Executive Warwick Quinn said that he wanted to change the message given to many students that university was the best option.

“Going to university is still an impressive decision but it is a myth that you are going to be better off. While graduates eventually earned higher salaries, tradespeople started earning earlier which meant, over a lifetime, their incomes were comparable,” Mr Quinn said.

“You are the tradie down at the dockyard in the morning putting you boat in the water – and you are 25. You are buying a house earlier because you have money and you are paying it off earlier – so midway through your career you have more security.”

Promoting Apprenticeships

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she was behind the push for trades – she helped launch the new system at Green Bay High School this week.

“Only 2% of school leavers are going into apprenticeships – that is really low. We are trying to encourage more school leavers to give it some thought given the huge contribution it makes to the country.”

Seventeen-year-old Holly Trow said that she wanted to do a carpentry apprenticeship.

“I like the hands on aspect of it and being out there and helping the community with building houses – or even commercial building,” she said.

Rowan Quinn is a Reporter at Radio New Zealand. Indian Newslink has published the above Report and Picture under a Special Agreement with

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Green Bay High School. 

Photo for RNZ by Rowan Quinn.

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