A record number of Kiwis are looking to the trades to build a career but is still nowhere near enough to meet industry demand.
For the first time in its history, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) has 11,000 apprentices actively working towards a qualification.
That's a 10 per cent increase since last November, but according to BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn, still a long way from the number required in the booming construction sector.
"This is a fantastic milestone but we still need thousands more apprentices in training each year to meet demand," says Quinn.
"New Zealand is in the midst of a skills shortage. It needs 65,000 new people over the next five years to meet new growth and replace people who leave."
Quinn says the high level of demand for qualified builders and construction workers means there's never been a better time to consider a career in the industry.
"We expect this current pressure to continue into the 2020s meaning virtually everybody who becomes qualified gets a job pretty much straight away, often before they get qualified.
"You can learn as you earn and earn just as much money as a university graduate without any debt."
For the 11,000th apprentice, Auckland father-of-three Daniel Poe, having a trade is the key to a lifetime of career opportunities and job security.
"I'm looking forward to becoming a foreman, stepping up and taking the lead on projects," says Poe.
"One day I would like to own a business in New Zealand and also find a way to give back to the community in Samoa and the islands".