Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) has reached the record of 11,000 apprentices working towards a qualification.

Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Louise Upston welcomed the number. She said, “apprenticeships are not just an alternative career choice for young people, they are critical for our economic growth. There are many benefits of work-based training. You can earn while you learn, you are exposed to cutting-edge technologies, and you can progress towards a qualification that can set you up for a career. “

This is 10 per cent higher than that of November, but BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn said that there is still a long way to meet the number.

“This is a fantastic milestone but we still need thousands more apprentices in training each year to meet demand,” he said.

“New Zealand is in the midst of a skills shortage. It needs 65,000 new people over the next five years to meet new growth and replace people who leave,” he added.

Quinn says it is now the right time for people to start their career in the industry with the rising demand for qualified builders and construction workers.

“We expect this current pressure to continue into the 2020s meaning virtually everybody who becomes qualified gets a job pretty much straight away, often before they get qualified. You can learn as you earn and earn just as much money as a university graduate without any debt,” he added.

Support from parents, teachers, career advisors, and businesses is needed to achieve the goals.