Eastern Courier : May 18th 2011
6 EASTERN COURIER, MAY 18, 2011 NEWS Now that we live at 7 Saint Vincent... Visit 7 St Vincent Avenue, Remuera Browse www.7saintvincent.co.nz Call 09 520 3123 We have a great social life! It's a lively village with an active social calendar. There are lots of nice places to meet with friends. We no longer rely on our children. Our old family homes put pressure on our families to help keep them in shape. Now, our children visit us to socialise. We're more relaxed knowing there's security. The security systems and the staff are just great. +1/7SV/EC/MAY18 Cdqxg eqoogpvu tgàgev ugpvkogpvu qh qwt tgukfgpvu0 Village Open Days Sat 21st & Sun 22nd May, 10am --4pm daily. You're invited to view this superb retirement lifestyle, our serviced apartments and respite care facilities. She rates trade cert ahead of a BA The tap is turned today to Off in the great apprentices debate -- and on positive notes. First though, a thank you -- it s good to see your newspapers taking an inter- est in a trade that is import- ant to the health and safety of New Zealanders , writes Fiona Gavriel. And interesting verdicts too -- also from Fiona, who is chief executive of Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ and Master- link: We think the training fees are a good investment because our apprentices end up with skills and qualifi- cations that will keep them in work for life. The training fees for a plumbing apprenticeship are $2200 a year -- that s about half of the average fee for a year studying for a bachelor of arts at university. And per- sonally I think many young Kiwis have a better future with a trade than a BA. I want to reassure your readers that the news about plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying skills and train- ing is not all bad. Master Plumbers is the trade organisation with pay- ing membership representing over 60 percent of the indus- try and we are working hard to make sure that we provide professional quality services to New Zealanders. There are good plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers being trained by Master Plumber members and through our Masterlink apprenticeship programme. Masterlink works by taking away the hassles of having an apprentice. We employ the apprentices and manage the whole process. Apprentices are seconded to host businesses who only pay for the time they work. The scheme was set up six years ago by Master Plumbers to encourage young people into our industry as well as raise the success rate of apprentice training. It is true that there is room for improvement in some aspects of the national training, registration and licensing structure. There is a recognised formal qualifi- cation that plumbing, gasfit- ting and drainlaying appren- tices work towards -- the national certificate, admin- istered by the Plumbing, Gas- fitting, Drainlaying and Roof- ing Industry Training Organisation (ITO). The con- tent of the national certificate is based on the achievement of unit standards which are set following consultation with industry as to what skills they require. This takes four years for plumbing and gasfitting and two for drainlaying. It is a major commitment for those who want to be part of our trade and is equivalent to completing a degree at uni- versity. There are also existing competencies set by the Plumbing, Gasfitting, Drain- laying Board which is respon- sible for registering and licensing plumbers. Your column was right in highlighting that the competencies could be made more relevant and we re pleased that consultation is under way on this. Master Plumbers has been pushing for some time for the Industry Training Organis- ation and the PGD board to get a closer connection between what the ITO requires an apprentice to be able to do and what the board requires them to write down to pass the registration exam. We have long advocated that national certificate should equal registration and we are continuing to push the board and ITO to address the barriers to this occurring. Progress has been made on this issue over the past 12 months with the board and ITO, along with Master Plumbers as the industry leader, meeting to address and remove these barriers. While there is always room for improvement, the connection between all players is a lot closer and more proactive than it has been in the past. The PGD board has appointed a new chief executive since an Audit Office review last year highlighted a number of problems. Overall we at Master Plumbers think it s better to be inside the tent making sure plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers voices are heard by the decision makers than sitting outside criticising. Masterlink is an excellent example of industry finding a practical and pragmatic sol- ution to a problem and in its six years of existence, the scheme has been active in assisting a large number of apprentices and businesses to a successful outcome. Sometimes the industry has to take responsibility for itself and not wait for govern- ment to always take the lead, particularly when trades training already receives its share of state funding. Masterlink s management of the apprenticeship process overcomes several of the problems highlighted in your columns. For example, it is a reality that small businesses specialise and may not do all the different types of jobs that apprentices need to learn about. We can arrange for apprentices to spend time with different host businesses to learn a wider range of skills. We regularly keep in touch with the host and men- tor the apprentice, making sure they have the resources they need to teach and learn, helping the apprentices with evening courses and distance learning as well as on-the-job training. This means 98 percent of our apprentices finish their training and more than 80 percent pass the registration exam. There is a cost to become a plumber, gasfitter or drainlayer in the form of training fees and registration costs. The cost arises from the need to protect consumer health and safety by having well-trained trades people as well as a registration system which recognises the commit- ment from those who have attained a qualification but more importantly protects the consumer from non- licensed labour. We have close to 200 Masterlink apprentices in training at the moment. Apprentice numbers are down but that s got more to do with the impact of the tight economy on plumbing businesses than with the way the system works. Numbers will pick up as the economy improves. Mas- ter Plumbers commitment to quality doesn t end with training apprentices. We think plumbers should continue learning throughout their working lives. There are always new developments and new ideas to keep up with. That s why we support the PGD board s move to require plumbers to do a certain amount of continuing profes- sional development as part of their annual licensing requirements. We re also about to launch our own internal quality assurance process for members of Mas- ter Plumbers. Contact details: Fiona Gav- riel, chief executive officer, Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ and Masterlink Limited PO Box 6606, Marion Square, Wel- lington 6141.
May 13th 2011
May 20th 2011