- Posted Tuesday, 14 March 2017 -
- In Articles
It is clear
there has been a significant decline in the commitment to training within the
construction industry over the last two decades. In more recent years it has
been further aggravated by the downturn in the resources industry. This is
largely due to the knock on effect within support industries which service the
mining sector. In addition to that, and more locally, there has been a noted
decline in construction and in this situation the concern to employers with commitment
to apprenticeship training, is the continuity of work and the uncertainty
around this. Naturally it is quite disruptive for the trainee when they
experience a fragmented term throughout their training.
In the past
it was a foregone conclusion that if you had more than two tradesmen your
business almost certainly supported an apprentice and over the decades this has
changed largely because the nature of the industry has changed. A large number of apprentices came from
relatively small operators and over the years there has been significant growth
in larger operations which are not generally set up for training. Much of their
work is subcontracted and the focus is on project management. This is not to suggest it applies to all, but
the percentage of companies which support apprenticeships and construction
skills training is low.
Sadly as a
nation we are losing vital skills that will be necessary for future growth. I
believe all companies should consider developing a training plan, relative to
their expertise and size. It is difficult to see the real benefits of apprentices
and trainees at the outset if we are to look at it in the same way as we always
have. However, in truth having a plan to engage trainees and apprentices in
your business can offer returns almost immediately.
There is a stigma around
apprentices and trainees that
harbours the view that they are costly, unreliable and hard work and it takes
too long to see a return benefit. My business is small and definitely cannot
support a liability such as a non-productive trainee or apprentice who does not
generate a return. I also hold a view that an apprentice today - regardless of
the trade - must be multi-skilled. Naturally, this is generally supported in
the training programs provided but is often not encouraged in the workplace. As
part of the training program from the outset, the apprentice can add value if
given appropriate training and responsibility and ownership very early in their
administration duties which are often managed poorly such as site diary
management, site cleaning and safety, tool maintenance, observation and
reporting, delivered materials checks, accident and incident reporting and
first aid are just some areas where our apprentices can make an important
contribution. These are repetitive tasks on which we can skill up our young
employees quickly and effectively, and provide real value to the business in
the short term.
trust and responsibility are the keys to a reliable employee who holds up the
values of your business. Naturally, these skills are developed simultaneously
with the trade training. There are many items to consider and they need to be
significant and relevant to your business. It is clear that the more they learn
and understand how all the interfacing elements work together, the sooner it
will have a positive effect on the bottom line.
people have a great deal to offer if given the opportunity. Naturally it is
necessary to screen for the right fit with respect to culture, values and potential.
At Nixon Build we have been working closely with Construction Skills Queensland
over the last 12 months, developing a training program which embraces and
accommodates all employees.
believe that with the competitive nature of business today it is essential to
skill up your workforce to optimise efficiency and do well in this current
market. Furthermore, the construction industry by nature is very transient and
these skilled people can then pass their skills on to others, creating an
overall positive change within the industry. The building industry has become
so regulated that in order to remain effective it is necessary for all
individuals representing your business to add value. In addition, there are
encouraging incentives provided by the state and federal governments as it has
clearly been recognised as in the national interest to upskill Australians.
clever direction and wise investment, value adding in trainees and apprentices
works. As sure as this is an ever changing world, it is also necessary to
change the way we think about training.