Eastern Courier : April 13th 2011
2 EASTERN COURIER, APRIL 13, 2011 NEWS Affordable, Flexible In-Home Childcare PORSE Howick Ph 273 9790 w ww.PORSE.co.nz Home is best for children! 3158582BB 3590055AA Beginners Guide To Property Investing FREE 4-hour training workshops We do NOT have any property to sell you! We are NZ Property Investors who are passionate about teaching people just like you, how to secure your financial future through investing in NZ Real Estate. Let us show you: • How you can retire early and retire wealthy, even if you are starting with nothing • Why you can't rely on the Government to look after you in retirement • How to build a solid portfolio to create wealth, without risking everything • Strategies you can use if you can't get finance • Ways to buy property with no money down • How to leverage your time and money For FREE tickets to one of our upcoming Auckland training workshops, Register online at www.propertyapprentice.com/events.htm or call us on 09 5757736. Ride the Rain Forest Express Board our locomotive for a fun ride through the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland. You'll travel through 10 tunnels and come face-to-face with glow worms and cave weta. Climb to the top of the Upper Nihotupu Dam and hear the story of how it was built in the early 20th century. Fares for regular trips are $25 for adults and $12 for children - with special rates for families and senior citizens. For bookings and more information, call (09) 302 8028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also information on our website www.watercare.co.nz 3584582AD Ph 271 0008 Unit 24, 15 Bishop Lenihan Place, Botany South Quality Dentistry Cosmetic & General Dentistry Complete Modern Dental Care Personalized Treatment Plans Interest Free Finance Experience the Best 220 Universal Dr, Henderson Ph: 836 0029 ALL HOURS 79 Line Road, Glen Innes Ph: 521 3100 Family owned and operated MORRISON FUNERAL DIRECTORS OFFICE, CHAPEL & RECEPTION LOUNGES 3607661AA Open air fires now allowed It s now open fire season in rural areas of Auck- land. The islands of the Hauraki Gulf are the exception -- they remain under a permanent restricted fire season. During an open fire season fire permits are not required for those lit in the open air on private land within the rural fire area. But residents are not allowed to burn green vegetation, rubber, plas- tic items, toxic materials and treated timber. If you wish to light an open fire in a rural area you should locate it well away from trees, long grass and any struc- tures, principal rural fire officer Bryan Car- telle says. Even if your outdoor fire is legal it is still an offence to cause a nuis- ance to neighbours. Property owners living within 1km of a Depart- ment of Conservation reserve must apply for a permit from that auth- ority because they still operate within a restric- ted fire season. Call the Auckland Council on 301-0101 for information on fire safety and tips for the safe lighting of open air fires. Skills drain is not a pipe dream Making a point: Wal Gordon on the steps of Parliament. Wal Gordon is a battler for things he believes in. The evi- dence: A photo of himself perched on a lavatory pan near the steps of Parliament. A dominating statue of Dick Seddon gave him a hard look for the three days he sat like that last June with wife Jeen giving him moral sup- port. He was drawing atten- tion to what he sees as the plight of his industry. Later he and a few others created the Plumbers, Gasfit- ters and Drainlayers Feder- ation, an incorporated society which now has 700 members. A determined Wal Gordon, who trained as an apprentice 35 years ago and has run his own plumbing and drainage business for 10 years in Upper Hutt, sees appren- ticeships as vital for the com- munity. He predicts that unless the present trends change, various trades like his will be in real trouble -- and so will the public -- within five years. I m not sure that he ll take his loo to Wellington again but he and the federation consistently put the issue on the line. Wal is their spokesman on what they see as vital needs -- to ensure the plumbing, gas- fitting and drainlaying indus- try gets fairness and equality in legislation imposed on the industry. And that the public like you gets the high skill standards needed in those trades. Like many others, he s not confident those standards are being met now -- or will be in the near future. He says some apprentices are coming out of their time without the skills required. To practise what they preach, the federation survives on donations from its members whose numbers are rapidly increasing. It s open to anyone in the indus- try, including apprentices, and membership is free. Apprentice training and exams -- that s where the pro- tection of the public starts. Yet on Wal s evidence and experience it s the part of the industry most in need. And if the apprentice numbers are not kept up we will be looking at that feared skills shortage within five years. Like most things in life -- more so than ever these days -- money is at the heart of the problem. A recent fee increase by the Industry Training Board is certainly not going to attract the num- ber of apprentices needed. Apprentices must pay pro- hibitive fees -- nearly $8800 upfront or pay as they learn. Just to register takes prob- ably close to two weeks take- home pay and there s con- tinued professional develop- ment training of around 24 hours per year which must also be attended. Plus travel and accommo- dation at course time. And it doesn t end when the apprentice has done his or her 8000 hours in training -- usually over four years. That s when they must pay $500 per licence to register -- in most cases they need two licences, like plumbing and drainlaying, plus a discipline fee of $266, which is a sort of guarantee that they ll toe the line. Some bosses pay the fees, others don t -- and the money comes from parents or a loan. Wal believes huge prob- lems with the training stem from skills taught at school. He feels there s an over- concentration on theory. Practical learners don t get stimulated and leave school with little knowledge to pre- pare them for work in a prac- tical industry. As an added complication, last year s new Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act was passed with some of the necessary small print not defined -- like set basic standards of competency in, say, welding plumbing joints. The Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board -- the body which dictates the sylla- bus -- is now developing new competencies . Hazel Armstrong, the chairwoman of that board, acknowledged an error when she told a Regulations Review Committee hearing: The board has recognised, I think, that the competencies are not fit for the purpose as far as the principles of the act, as well as the definitions of sanitary plumbing, gasfit- ting and drainlaying -- that is why it is now consulting. In the meantime, appren- tices and their bosses are working to transitional competency standards set without consultation which could last to perhaps the end of this year when the new and essential permanent small print is set. Federation members feel all competencies, standards and course content should have been sorted out with consultation before the new act, not after. The federation believes this has impacted on the standard of apprentices training. Net result: The federation believes the board is years behind where it should be. The industry is now stuck with transitional arrange- ments -- and it s the apprentices who suffer. So it s fewer apprentices but with pre-trade courses -- which vary from three to 12 months -- producing more young people with only limited skills who find it hard to get jobs. That leaves them disen- chanted and despondent when they can t get work they expected. And with the industry still lacking skilled hands. Qualified people get a lot of satisfaction from training apprentices. But the com- pliance costs of perhaps pay- ing initial fees, helping with course costs and paying wages while apprentices are off the site, can add up to thousands of dollars a year in times which are hard for everyone. The federation believes apprentice training and exams are where the pro- tection of the public starts and yet it is the most wanting part of the industry and some apprentices are coming out without the skills required. Wal says there s nothing an employer would like more than spending time training an apprentice. He says training should go back to the days when an apprentice attended courses to pick up on the range of skills and knowledge his employer can t supply him with. Not all firms do all jobs. We need to provide our apprentices with multi-skills relevant to the industry, not just a narrow focus. We need to recognise that and give them the training they deserve. The levels of training should be addressed so employers can know what their apprentice has been trained to. Wal asks and answers a highly apt question: Have you ever looked at what apprentice means? Learner of a craft , that s what -- not learner of parts of a craft, not a learner of bureaucracy, but a learner of a craft. We need to recognise that and give them the training they deserve. Wal -- getting down to busi- ness for the apprentices.
April 8th 2011
April 15th 2011