Late in 2015 the Civil Trades certification programme was launched with the first 14 civil infrastructure workers becoming industry qualified tradespeople.
THE NEWLY CERTIFIED group was made of workers from throughout the country, working for industry stalwarts like Fulton Hogan, Fletchers, Downer NZ, City Care, Andrew Haulage and Higgins Contractors on projects including Auckland’s Waterview Connection.
Their achievement, recognised at a presentation at Parliament, signifies the beginning of a new era for the civil industry.
Up until now, unlike building, plumbing and electrical workers, workers in civil trades, in jobs such as road construction and pipe installation, had no industry wide, transferrable trade qualification. Now civil workers effectively have an apprenticeship available that allows them to study and work at the same time, while accumulating hours towards their trade certification.
This establishment of a formal certification, recognising people working at tradesperson level that are both qualified and highly skilled in civil constructing and maintaining civil infrastructure, is a significant step forward for the industry.
Civil Infrastructure is one of the largest industries in the country, made up of 600 businesses and 40,000 employees nationwide, with a $20 billion annual turnover.
The Civil Trades Certification Board was set up early last year to oversee the initiation of the new trade regime, which has wide industry support and was developed through Civil Contractors New Zealand in partnership with Connexis, the industry-training organisation for the infrastructure industry.
Inaugural chair of the Civil Trades Certification Board and CCNZ chair, Dave Connell, says the trade certification fundamentally changes how the civil infrastructure industry works.
“A regulated trades regime sees certified tradespeople take ownership and provide the craftsmanship required for delivery of a product or construction activity. It will be game changing for the industry and the people who work in it.”
Dave says the trade certification will empower workers, who will have a recognised and transferrable trade behind them. For employers it means more engaged workers who are more productive and safer, and with an expected streamlining of on-site work practices, he adds.
Connexis ITO chief executive Helmut Modlik calls the establishment of the Trade Certification Board a significant milestone.
“This is very exciting for the industry and marks the beginning of a steady roll out of qualified workers with transferrable skills, which is of course beneficial to both workers and employees. Qualified people produce quality infrastructure.
“The new qualification will also help attract workers to the industry now that it offers a clear career path. Introducing a regime for civil trades has been something that has been wanted by the industry for a long time and it’s a significant step for both the industry and its workers.”