Hands on at Dunstan High School

A concern for a shortage of apprentices saw the Central Otago Brick and Blocklayers Association, with support from their local industry, head back to school to showcase the trade. Members from the Association and their apprentices worked alongside students at Dunstan High School in Central Otago to give the students an introduction to the trade by building a tiered stand and a storage shed.

“While the students were initially a little reluctant to get involved we got them to build their own wall and they were into it. In the end they were working alongside the apprentices on the main construction and at least a couple of them were targeted as potential Blocklayers.” reports Association Secretary, Ian Shirley.

Students were given the message to consider the brick and blocklaying trade as their career path and ‘learn while they earn’ rather than heading to University and being lumbered with a student loan.

Lunch and a team to handle any of the students questions was provided by BCITO which resulted in students who were according to Dunstan High School Head of Technology, John Adamson, “completely engaged”.

BCITO who manage Brick and Blocklayer apprentice training are advising that 5000 new apprentices across the trades will be needed nationwide next year with several hundred of those required in Central Otago.

The Central Otago Brick and Blocklayers Association acknowledges support of Viblock and Mcnulty without whose assistance the demonstration day would not have been possible.

Ian Shirley has also highlighted that participating blocklayers such as Brad Gemmell, Kirk Stuart and James Rabbette donated not only their time but their apprentices as they believe that getting hands on and showing the trade skills is better than talking about it.

They have already received an enquiry about an apprenticeship from a student from the demonstration day!

Well done team!