AKL Update: Construction Careers Taking Shape

10 September 2021

Getting local high school students into a career in construction has taken a step forward with the establishment of a renovation hub at Auckland Airport.

In a unique collaboration between eight schools, Auckland Airport and other construction-based businesses, industry training organisations, and local and central government, the Ara house renovation project is giving students their first taste of working on a building site.

Sarah Redmond, schools’ engagement manager for the Ara Education Charitable Trust, based at Auckland Airport, said teams of students undertaking trades-based study at school take houses earmarked for demolition and turn them back into liveable homes. Not only does it provide hands-on experience, with the construction industry generating up to 50% of the waste going to landfill, but it also brings wider sustainability benefits.

“Renovating an existing house allows students to work in all the trades – everything from plumbing in a new bathroom to reglazing windows – while experiencing what it will be like to work on site in real life. We’re working to upskill our young people, so employers are really keen to take them on for apprenticeships,” said Sarah.

“It’s also about smoothing that tricky transition from school through to work by stitching together the different education providers, businesses and government agencies that can support our young people.”

Within the project there is a specific programme aimed at boosting the number of Māori and Pasifika women taking up work opportunities in the construction sector.

“Again, it’s about supporting these young women so they can successfully move into the workforce, as well as opening their eyes to the breadth of job opportunities in this sector. It’s an exciting industry with so many different, and well paid, career paths. We’re also hoping that from this we can be part of the solution to raising household income levels in South Auckland.”

And as Auckland Airport looks to the future restart of its infrastructure programme, these young people will form the talent pipeline needed for the construction projects.