Master Electricians in Hawke's Bay are urging young people to consider 'future proof' apprenticeships in sector.
The Electrical Training Company (etco) has more than 90 apprentices placed with over 50 host businesses in Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions but it still isn't enough, says Master Electricians chief executive Neville Simpson.
With construction booming nationally, Mr Simpson says demand for electricians is soaring, yet the organisation's members are struggling to find sufficient suitable candidates for apprenticeships.
"According to the Household Labour Force Survey for the last quarter of 2016, there was 8.9 per cent unemployment in Gisborne/Hawke's Bay, the highest in the country," said Mr Simpson.
"Nationally, 12.4 per cent of young people were not in employment or education (NEET) in 2016. The largest increase in unemployment rates was for young men aged 15-19.
"Meanwhile, the 2016 National Construction Pipeline Report shows that residential building to the value of $421 million was carried out in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne last year, with building consents in all regions expected to rise this year.
"That's only accounting for the new residential buildings, not commercial properties, existing buildings and infrastructure and renovations. More skilled electricians are needed to service all these areas."
Mr Simpson said "outdated stigma" around trade careers could be behind the shortfall in suitable applicants for apprenticeships and he urged schools, parents and careers advisers in Hawke's Bay to encourage young people to look at the career potential offered by the sector.
"Not every young person wants to go to university and not every young person knows what they want to do when they graduate.
"Parents, teachers and careers adviser's should be encouraging young men or women with technical flair or an interest in technology to consider the potential of an electrical apprenticeship.
"It's a future-proof career choice. Property developers and renovators are increasingly aiming to pre-wire homes from the outset for changes yet to come.
"Our members are working on those projects, laying foundations for the homes and offices of tomorrow. Electricians are fundamental to achieving the kind of services and facilities businesses and homeowners want today and into the future."
Master Electricians is New Zealand's only trade organisation representing electrical contractors. It also owns etco.
Apprentices combine paid on-the-job training while working towards a tertiary qualification.
With three to five years' experience an electrician will usually earn $55,000-$60,000. After six or more years' that rises to $63,000-$70,000. Experienced electricians working in specialist fields or running their own business can earn $100,000-plus.
For more details see etco.co.nz