Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Full steam ahead for trades jobs

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Key Skills Recruitment branch manager Ati Aaifou-Olive is trying to attract younger people into trades. Photo / George Novak
Key Skills Recruitment branch manager Ati Aaifou-Olive is trying to attract younger people into trades. Photo / George Novak

Once again it is the trades keeping the Western Bay's job market going strong.

Trade Me yesterday released its quarterly job statistics, which showed there had been a 61 per cent increase in listings in the Western Bay and a 13 per cent increase in Tauranga year-on-year. While the number of listings had increased, the number of people applying for the jobs was down 27 per cent in the Western Bay and 5 per cent in Tauranga.

Ati Aaifou-Olive, branch manager of Key Skills Recruitment in Tauranga, said construction was leading the way in the region and a shortage of qualified applicants meant the recruitment agency was looking to new ways to meet demand.

"Our company is looking at setting up a youth careers programme. We're going to get into training - instead of complaining, we're going to do something about it."

Mr Aaifou-Olive said he was going around colleges to talk about the opportunities in the industrial sectors as one way to address the trades shortage, which he thought was not going to end any time soon.

"If I had the people now, they would have jobs tomorrow. I've even been struggling to get drivers, the people with the right attitudes that want to stay in the career. These days, they've got to get their NCEA levels and go to study.

"We want to get those kids that have the attitude for an apprenticeship, those who have the potential but haven't really reached that qualification yet. You used to be able to walk into a building site or engineering shop and if you showed the right attitude, you'd be in an apprenticeship right away."

Trade Me head of jobs Peter Osborne said listings in the region had increased quite a bit compared to the same period last year. "Unusually in the Bay of Plenty area, average numbers of applications haven't gone up so much."

Mr Osborne said job listings in building and construction were strong in the region and it was still reasonably difficult to find people to fill those jobs.

It was becoming more common to see jobs listed by agencies rather than the companies themselves as employers grew busier.

Salaries were not growing hugely, so the market was not at the stage where employers were having to offer large wages to attract staff.

Jill Cachemaille, The Staffroom Limited director, said the 13 per cent figure seemed low for Tauranga and at her agency, listings had increased by something closer to 25 per cent. "It's just building, building and building. We're going to have to employ more staff ourselves. It has been hugely busy within the building industry, but also in other sectors indirectly related as well.

"It's had a really positive impact on the economy."

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the figures showed the region was full steam ahead.

"The Western Bay is really humming along. While there's been an upswing in work opportunities, it's still a very competitive job market here in the Bay - and not everyone can be placed easily.

"Migrants and mature workers continue to find it challenging, and may need to lower their sights to get into the market.

"At the same time the Chamber is still seeing lots of people looking to start up new businesses."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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