Work on the horizon: Trades skills tested for N.Z. job opportunities

Another twenty-one Samoan carpenters have been interviewed for a years’ work in New Zealand on building sites across the Waikato.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment (M.B.I.E.) completed their final phase of recruitment at the Australia Pacific Technical College campus in Malifa yesterday. 

The applicants completed practical assessments testing their carpentry skills. 

“I can see within the first 10 minutes if a carpenter is a carpenter or not,” carpentry tutor Mick Cooke said.

“It’s about the processes they follow, marking out, cutting, how good they are at the health and safety element.” 

M.B.I.E. Relationship Manager, Diana Loughnan said M.B.I.E. is not only responsible for assessing the candidates, but for training locals to be able to conduct future assessments as well.

“The C.V. is really important,” Mr. Cooke said.

“If their C.V. has minimal information on it, I can’t make an informed decision whether he should be here or not.”

A carpenter’s C.V. can tell Mr. Cooke their years of experience and their areas of knowledge, from which he gives applicants a score.

Whilst the scoring system is not an exact science, it gives him a way to narrow down the numbers enough to meet employers’ needs.

As a prior learning assessor, Mr. Cooke doesn’t just look for carpentry qualifications.

“Someone might have 30 years’ experience and no qualification, but that doesn’t matter as long as he has the points from his experience.”

For men without paperwork, Mr. Cooke can help by simply talking to them.

“For example, if you have been a carpenter for 10 years, I’d have a conversation with you, find out what you know and what you don’t know, sign you off on 70 percent of the qualification and tell you what you need to do next.”

For an employer to hire someone to work in New Zealand they must be able to speak English confidently.

New Zealand began hiring carpenters and supporting their gaining qualifications in 2017 with a pilot programme specifically aimed at sending builders to support the Christchurch rebuild.

Of the 24 carpenters who were successful last year, 23 also gained an Ara Institute of Canterbury qualification in carpentry and some were rehired by their employer at the end of the year.

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