A group of Bay of Plenty civil infrastructure workers have new industry Trade Certification to their name and are praising the industry for its introduction.
ANTHONY RUDKIN (Rud) from Opotiki’s Waiotahi Contractors, Fulton Hogan Tauranga’s David Hurn, and Mt Maunganui based Manuel Jack-Kino (Cooch) all received their Civil Trades Certification recently.
Civil Trades provides formal recognition for people working at tradesperson level that they are both qualified and highly skilled in constructing and maintaining civil infrastructure.
David Hurn says that Civil Trades is a great idea and long overdue. “We have a very diverse industry with a lot more technical innovations than people realise. Civil Trades goes a long way to recognising and formalising the standards that we ourselves have set and strive to achieve.
“Civil Trades benefits not only the individual, but the industry as a whole. Long gone are the days of the road worker being seen as an end-of-the-line job.
“In New Zealand we lead the way in road design and construction and we need people who are keen to learn about our industry because when we upskill our teams we are also upskilling our industry. It’s a win/win situation.”
For 32-year industry veteran Anthony Rudkin (or Rud as he’s known) all his years of experience have also translated into Civil Trades Certification. Rud says that it’s great to have his experience formally recognised.
“It’s long overdue for the industry, which up until now hasn’t had formal trade for workers and it’s also great to set an industry standard.”
Cooch is also a long-time industry professional who is proud to have his skills and expertise formally recognised and also spends a lot of time mentoring younger staff. “It’s nice to have my experience recognised and it’s really important for young staff coming through the industry; it’s a great move by the industry,” he says.
Cooch adds that Civil Trades helps educate the younger staff about the fact that there’s more to the job than just driving machines and offers a depth of understanding about the industry they’re working in, which is vital for future career paths.
The trio’s on-the-job experience garnered over many years in the industry has enabled them to become Civil Trades certified through Recognition of Current Competence (RCC).
To become Civil Trades certified, workers must complete a recognised Civil Infrastructure Trades Qualification, together with 8000 hours of on-job experience (including 2000 hours at Level 4 competency). Certification can be achieved through a New Zealand apprenticeship, a regular industry sector qualification, or RCC depending on the individual’s level of experience.
Online training tool for drivers
A NEW ONLINE TOOL aimed at improving the management of drivers’ health and safety training has been launched at www.drivingtests.co.nz.
The addition of a Fleet Driver Training Plan to the website is said to allow businesses to manage driver training and qualifications in one online system.
Drivers can take online tests to improve their knowledge of the road rules, driver health and safety and their driving skills. Managers can generate reports to identify areas that need to be addressed.
The move to provide businesses with reports comes in response to the updated health and safety laws that came into effect in 2016, says Darren Cottingham, director of DT Driver Training.
“Businesses now need to document the steps they’re taking to reduce the risks of accidents when driving. They need to be able to provide physical proof that their employee drivers have undergone the necessary training required to ensure this happens.
“The DT Fleet Driver Training Plan comes with seven free templates employers can use or modify for compliance reporting, including a safe driving policy and numerous checklists. The ability for drivers to study and take tests whenever and wherever they want on a smartphone, tablet or computer, reduces workplace disruptions normally associated with training.
“For a limited time the DT Fleet Driver Training Plan is available at $9 per driver per year, including GST.”
Helping students into the workforce
A GROUP OF SECONDARY students are now ‘job ready’ for the civil infrastructure industry armed with both practical experience and a qualification thanks to a new training initiative.
The upper South Island students have spent the past year combining on-the-job experience and study, while still at school, to gain not only ‘hands-on’ experience but also a level 2 National Certificate in Infrastructure Works.
Bryn Stephenson, Connexis customer service account manager for Nelson/Marlborough, says a lot of people view the industry as ‘just a job’, but there’s a career path with nationally recognised qualifications including an apprenticeship programme that can lead into Civil Trades Certification, which makes it a great job option.
“The work the industry undertakes is the backbone of New Zealand infrastructure, it’s a rapidly growing sector that is facing challenges meeting the increasing capacity, in terms of a skilled workforce, to meet planned projects, let alone addressing unexpected work such as the Kaikoura earthquake rebuild.”
The student training is offered by the Top of the South Trades Academy and gives students the opportunity to train for a job while they’re still at school.
For recent graduate Josh Hutton it has led him straight into the workforce with a job at Fulton Hogan in Nelson.
“I previously tried different trades by doing work experience, but none of them really caught my eye. I really didn’t know much about civil construction – I was just testing the water to begin with. The more I went the more I enjoyed it – especially once I got the chance to jump on the tools.”
Paul Shuker, Fulton Hogan’s senior department manager for construction, says: “For us, finding the right person is really important. You can teach students practical skills, but they have to have the right attitude and be keen to learn.
“We would definitely get involved again. It’s been a great way to attract high calibre young people, and that’s been a challenge in the past.”
Bryn Stephenson says Connexis’ inaugural involvement with the initiative has been a huge success.
“The objective was to provide a programme with a meaningful qualification at the end of the training, and real on-job experience that would make students work ready. It has been tremendously well supported by the local branch of Civil Contractors NZ (CCNZ) and the shining stars of the programme have been offered employment.
“I can’t wait to build on the success of 2016 and develop the programme further in 2017 with the addition of more on-job time and the inclusion of driver training into the curriculum.”