Helping Businesses Keep Apprentices Critical to Economic Recovery

Garry Fissenden, CEO of The Skills Organisation, NZ’s largest industry training organisation, says with this 2020 Budget being all about keeping people in jobs and job creation, it is a huge positive that the Government has confirmed a focus on workplace-based training.

“Today’s Budget is excellent news,” says Fissenden, “because the Government has recognised the critical importance of trades training and apprenticeships as a fundamental part of NZ’s economic recovery.

“New Zealand needs to support businesses to actually keep their people and their apprentices in jobs. Funds targeted to apprenticeships, in particular, will not only train people but keep them in work at the same time.

 

 “The industry training sector is in a unique position because it is already well-placed to work along with the Government, the vocational providers and employers to co-ordinate displaced apprentices, and connect and reconnect people with training across the system. And able to action this immediately.”

Why flexible working is the way of the future

Are the days of the standard 9-5, 5-day-a-week working arrangements over? For some-maybe, yes. Thanks to the ever-evolving nature of technology, now more than ever we’re able to redefine our workdays. And with technological evolution has come the evolution of workers’ needs and desires, too, making it even more important for businesses to adapt where they can.

With COVID-19 lockdowns setting in across the globe, many businesses have come to find that they can operate from a home environment; something many sectors, such as contact centres, never thought possible. The global pandemic has forced businesses to challenge the status quo and come up with new ways to work.

It’s worth noting that flexibility means different things to different people and businesses. It could be flexi-hours, the ability to switch between working from home or the office or incorporating new ways of working with online webinars and meetings instead of travelling long distances or away from family. But adopting a new workday long-term means abandoning the way things have been done for decades, and it might not be easy for everyone to get their heads around.

So, why should you give up the tried and true standard workweek for flexibility?

Productivity will improve

Arguably the most common concern about flexible working is that productivity will take a hit. But talk to friends, family members and co-workers and you’ll come to understand how varied working styles can be. Some might work best in the quiet hours of the morning, while others may prefer to wake late and have productivity peak in the afternoon.

This idea has been backed up by science, too. Studies have proven that in general, flexible workers are considerably more productive than their standard work-day peers. Having productive staff is important for all businesses, and we now know that greater productivity doesn’t necessarily mean clocking more hours. Instead, trusting employees to know themselves well enough to judge how best to use their time pays off for business.

Your staff will stick around for longer

Staff retention is vital to all businesses, small and large alike. And how do you retain staff? By understanding what matters to them. Increasingly, climbing the corporate ladder and earning the ‘big bucks’ has been sidelined by a preference for freedom and flexibility. Workers today are overwhelmingly prioritizing lifestyle and work-life balance over earning more money. Research conducted in 2018 found that 78% of millennials would be more loyal to employers offering flexible working, and 70% of millennials have even left or considered leaving a job for one offering greater flexibility. So, flexible working might not only be desirable for employers to adopt, but critical in reducing staff turnover.

Say goodbye to burnout

It’s not just about what it increases; time and freedom, but also what it decreases; burnout, that makes flexible working important for your staff. HR leaders have found that burnout is responsible for up to half of employee turnover, but flexible working provides a way to remedy this. Flexible working promotes better sleep, memory and positive emotion by allowing employees to better manage the nuances of their own lives and find meaningful balance. By enabling employees to lay essential foundations for their wellbeing, flexible working reduces burnout- making for a happier, healthier workforce.

Ultimately, we hope our businesses will not only do well but thrive. Now, we have the power of knowing that there are new ways to achieve this; and thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever. Whether it’s working from home some days, flexing working hours around personal life or shortening the workweek altogether, flexible workplaces are the way of the future. It’s time to toss out the ‘one-size fits all’ approach and get on board with it. If the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter how.

Update on Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying Block Courses

Below is an outline of what is happening with your block courses over the coming weeks.

NZ Certificate Blocks

 Scheduled Block Courses Planned approach
Modules 2, 5 and 7

Shift to full online courses.

You will shortly be given access to online courses to complete the theory learning and assessment.  Through this course you will have access to a tutor who will schedule and run online webinars to help you learn the content.  Once you are ready, you can complete the theory assessments online.  Any practical aspects will be covered at a block course with your provider eg, drawing and creating patterns

Modules 3 and 6

Shift to online learning for theory and rescheduled combined block course. 

We are splitting the delivery of these modules into the following:

a)      You will shortly be given access to an online course to complete the theory learning and assessment.  Through this course you will have access to a tutor who will schedule and run online webinars to help you learn the content.  Once you are ready, you can complete the assessment online.

b)      The remaining practical parts of these modules will be scheduled into a combined block course later in the year.  You will be advised of the new dates.

Module 8

 

Schedule change.

This course is predominantly practical and cannot be delivered in a different way.  This course will be rescheduled and you will be advised of the new dates.

Block C

Schedule change.

This course is predominantly practical and cannot be delivered in a different way.  This course will be rescheduled and you will be advised of the new dates.

Block E

Shift to full online courses.

You will shortly be given access to online courses to complete the theory learning and assessment.  Through this course you will have access to a tutor who will schedule and run online webinars to help you learn the content.  Once you are ready, you can complete the theory assessments online.

Block F

 

Schedule change.

This course is predominantly practical and cannot be delivered in a different way.  This course will be rescheduled and you will be advised of the new dates.

 

National Certificate Blocks

 Scheduled Block Courses Planned approach
Week 7

As these block courses are a mix of theory and practical, these will be rescheduled.

 

Priority will be given to weeks 10, 11 and 12 on the revised schedule so that those trainees can complete their programme without undue delays.

Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12

What next?

Continue to check your emails as we will be in touch with more details about your apprenticeship programme. In the meantime, if you have any issues or questions about your apprenticeship please talk to your Account Manager or contact us on 0508 SKILLS (0508 754 557).

Update on Roofing Block Courses

Below we have outlined key information around when we plan to be back up and running and what we are putting in place to keep you progressing in your apprenticeship during this challenging time.

When will courses be back up and running?

Block Courses

Our Plan

A (previously scheduled for April/May)

Pencil in for late June/July 

B (previously scheduled for April/May)

Pencil in for late June/July 

 

Practical Assessments

The safety of our apprentices, our providers and the wider community is the most important thing, which is why there will be no practical assessments in Alert Level 3.

We will advise you as soon as any more information is made available and as we get closer to Alert Level 2.  But what this means is that, at this stage, block courses and practical assessments are unlikely to start back until June or July.

Health & Safety Courses?

We are in discussion with our providers of health & safety short courses such as first aid, confined space, and height safety. Once they resume courses and are taking new bookings we will let you know. If you have booked on a course that has been cancelled, the provider will contact you directly regarding re-scheduling.

Distance Learning/Theory Days

The National Certificate in Roofing qualifications finish at the end of this year. It is important to continually make progress on your assignments. To ensure that we are able to complete everyone in this qualification, all assignments must be submitted for marking by the end of September 2020. This will allow us to get them marked, resulted and reported in time. Additional to this we will also be making sure that apprentices have been scheduled on practical assessments, and completed all of their health & safety requirements. It is as simple as completing 1 assignment every 1-2 weeks. Under the different lockdown levels, there will be no roofing theory days. So please get your assignments in for marking as soon as possible.

While there may be some desire to resume assessments under alert levels 2 and 3, there are stringent requirements around social distancing, travel and hygiene requirements that need to be followed.  We are working with our provider partners to ensure the safety of our apprentices, our providers and their families are extremely important to us and we are committed to the overall goal to restrict the spread of the virus.  We will advise you if this decision changes as more information is made available as we get closer to alert level two.

What next?

Continue to check your emails as we will be in touch with more details about your apprenticeship programme.  In the meantime, if you have any issues or questions about your apprenticeship please talk to your Account Manager or contact us on 0508 SKILLS (0508 754 557).

Update on Scaffolding Block Courses

Below is an outline of what is happening with your block courses over the coming weeks.

Block Courses

Our Plan

A (previously scheduled for April/May)

Pencil in for late June/July 

B (previously scheduled for April/May)

Pencil in for late June/July 

What next?

Continue to check your emails as we will be in touch with more details about your apprenticeship programme. In the meantime, if you have any issues or questions about your apprenticeship please talk to your Account Manager or contact us on 0508 SKILLS (0508 754 557).

Update on Electrical Block Courses

Below is an outline of what is happening with your block courses over the coming weeks.

Off-job – theory

Skills focus is on making sure we keep you on track with the classroom component of your apprenticeship through online learning and assessment.

Our providers are committed to continuing the delivery of your theory work and will update you with details of how they are supporting this work.

Contact your Account Manager and/or provider if you haven’t heard from them yet.

Off-job – Block Courses

Schedule change.

These Block courses are predominantly practical and cannot be delivered in a different way.  Therefore, if your block course was due over the April/May, it will be rescheduled and you will be advised of the new dates.

On-job’s It is important that you try to complete as much of your on-job units as practically possible. If you have received relevant practical exposure, then you can start collecting and collating this evidence during this lockdown period. Talk to your employer/supervisor for advice or support. Your account manager is also available for additional advice.
Capstone Assessments As these assessments must be completed under exam conditions, these will only be scheduled once we return to face to face training.
Skills Gap, Repeats etc Your provider will contact you directly.

What next?

Continue to check your emails as we will be in touch with more details about your apprenticeship programme. In the meantime, if you have any issues or questions about your apprenticeship please talk to your Account Manager or contact us on 0508 SKILLS (0508 754 557).