A call for more Pasifika tradies

by | Mar 6, 2024

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) is calling for more Pasifika learners to start their apprenticeships. Despite reasonably high numbers of Pasifika labourers in the industry, Pasifika peoples are underrepresented when it comes to qualifications.

BCITO said that recent research from the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission looking at the broader infrastructure sector, including the building and construction industry, shows there is a need for more training. Pacific people make up seven per cent of the infrastructure workforce but are not moving up the ladder once they enter the sector. Training can play a key role in addressing this.

“The research shows that Pacific workers were more likely to have no qualification, which is why we are seeing higher rates of Pasifika people in labourer roles – with demand in the sector rising, now is the time to encourage and support our Pasifika trainees and encourage those who are labouring to consider formal training,” states Greg Durkin, Director of BCITO.

BCITO is equipped to help bridge this gap through its offering of a full suite of training opportunities to suit different learners and their needs. This ranges from a full apprenticeship across different trades, one-on-one visits with Training Advisors, and a digital learning platform to micro-credentials, which are designed to suit more niche in-demand skills, along with a Level 5 Construction Trades Supervision qualification.

In recent years, BCITO has identified the pressing need for greater representation of Pasifika peoples within the construction workforce, which has resulted in the introduction of the ‘Building Pasifika’ campaign. This campaign is designed to support Pasifika learners, both current and future learners.

“Only about 10 per cent of our active BCITO apprentices are Pasifika,” says Greg Durkin, Director at BCITO

“This figure and the high rate of untrained Pasifika labourers underscores the importance of our new Pasifika campaign and the need to provide meaningful opportunities for Pasifika people.”

“BCITO has intensified its efforts to understand and support our Pasifika workforce. This has included the appointment of a dedicated Principal Advisor for Pasifika People, Solomon Daniel, who is tasked with fostering cultural capabilities within BCITO and building meaningful connections within the Pasifika community,” Mr Durkin said.

A key focus of the campaign is cultivating Pasifika capability in alignment with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Takiala Pasifika Framework. Central to this endeavour is also the empowerment of current Pasifika learners, ensuring they feel supported and equipped to navigate their apprenticeship journey.

“Our aim is twofold: to attract prospective Pasifika apprentices and to provide unwavering support to those already on their journey.”

“Through targeted outreach and resources, we want to convey the message that no Pasifika learner walks alone and that their aspirations are supported by BCITO every step of the way,” Mr Durkin concluded.