Are you looking to become a builder? Post Covid-19 lockdown, NZ has seen the unemployment rate skyrocket and it is expected to rise even further. The New Zealand government is doing all they can to keep our economy going and the key to this could be the construction industry. This post is for anybody looking for advice on how to take that first step in becoming a builder. We will outline some of the best organisations and programmes that are available to help you get your foot in the door. We’ll also share some useful knowledge to hopefully help you land that construction job.
Why become a builder?
There are many positive reasons to become a builder. Firstly, you will not rack up huge debts. The apprenticeship scheme to become a builder is mostly a 'learn while you earn' situation. The fees are minimal if you were to compare them to those of a university degree.
Secondly, being a builder is a job that you can do anywhere in the world. It’s not just New Zealand who has a booming construction industry. If you can build a house in New Zealand, you can build a house in England or America. As a qualified builder you can make great money just about anywhere.
Finally, in our opinion, the potential money you can earn as a builder is greater than most other trades. This is because builders are the most likely trade to land a full-scale job. In short, you will hire the plumbers, the painters, the electricians etc. and make a margin off each of them. It’s a great way to transition yourself into a project management role.
Government funded organisations to help you become a builder
If you have been made redundant because of Covid-19, the chances are, you will have signed up with Work and Income for the benefit. If you haven’t yet, then you should. Work and Income can help to finance your transition to work. For example, they provide funding for things like tools or re-locating if you find a job in another region. Furthermore, if you have a Work and Income client number, you are eligible to join a fantastic and free training programme called Kiwi Can Do.
Kiwi Can Do is a provider to the Ministry of Social Development. They help transition job seekers to work in the construction industry. They have courses to help you become a builder, scaffolder, painter or to get your truck licence. Their courses typically span over three weeks and are available throughout the North Island. Throughout this time you will be given necessary PPE gear, issued a site safe passport and they will even help you to upgrade your drivers licence. Additionally, they will give you three weeks’ worth of training in your chosen trade. After you have completed the course, Kiwi Can Do will help you to find a job.
Signing up with a training organisation such as ITAB or BCITO is the first step to becoming a qualified builder. You can order your books and materials, or even start some of the theory work by signing up to a pre-trade course at your local Polytech. However, to officially start your apprenticeship, you will have to have found yourself a job first. But now is the best time to do it. The government is offering wage subsidies to employers that take on a new apprentice. In short, employers will be more willing than ever to take on and to train building apprentices.
Let people know that you want to become a builder
If you don’t manage to find a job straight away, don’t give up. In our experience, tradies appreciate people that put themselves out there. For example, if you walk by a construction site, why not walk in and pass your CV on? The worst that can happen is they don’t call you. Secondly, if the construction company were to say they are not hiring right now, ask if they would let you do a week of work experience for free. The chances are, they will not say no to some free labour. This gets your foot in the door. Then, it is up to you to show them how hard you can work. Maybe they will change their mind. However, if they don’t decide to offer you more work, they will most likely write you a glowing reference for your CV.
In summary, we advise anyone wanting to pursue a career in the construction industry to follow these tips and become a builder. It’s no secret that times are tough at the moment, but that could be the perfect excuse to start a new path towards a new career. By following these tips, there’s no guarantee that you will find a job straight away. However, you will now have some work experience, some new basic tools, a brand new professional looking CV with industry related references and an upgraded drivers licence. In short, you can become a whole lot more desirable to potential employers within a matter of weeks.