Hanga arorangi – Vertical construction

The Vertical Construction Sector is important to Tairāwhiti, due to the number of people employed, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributions.

Four men on building site

Vertical construction includes commercial and residential building. The number of jobs in the construction sector is projected to increase slightly over the next 15 years (Informetrics—Regional Employment projections).

Fundamentally we know that a whare helps whānau grow their aspirations and their skills. With the current housing crisis, many whānau aren’t getting the same opportunities. Accordingly, Tairāwhiti is focussed on building more houses which is generating a huge amount of activity for the region.

It is likely that the burden of completion targets has created flow-on pressure to employers who were already struggling with low staffing levels. Whilst there is a desire to promote skill development opportunities such as improving the numeracy and literacy levels of some kaimahi, the short-term supply problem has been more pressing for many businesses.

Wage rates are important to kaimahi, and with many of the smaller building companies unable to compete with larger firms in this space, smaller companies are focusing on becoming employers of choice instead. Employers have told us that to better support our rangatahi coming into employment, we need new workplace practices that focus on developing ‘people not just workers’. We need workplaces that engage kaimahi in a variety of construction tasks early on so they can acquire multiple skillsets in many areas and be more productive.

To future-proof the sustained resilience of our Vertical Construction sector, it is essential to engage with rangatahi as early as possible, and strengthen the connection between schools, training providers, and industry that wrap around them. A future workforce can be secured by exposure to trades training opportunities that sparks rangatahi interest in embarking upon their career pathway.

A vital piece of the puzzle is to ensure that kaimahi, and especially rangatahi, have access to appropriate pastoral support to give them every chance of succeeding.