Trades teaching veteran reflects as ‘big name’ exits the industry
22 December, 2022
ITAB scheme ends after 20 years supporting carpentry apprentice training
A veteran of Ara Institute of Canterbury’s Trades carpentry programme is taking time to reflect on two decades of dedication to the success of the Industry Training Association Building scheme (ITAB) which is drawing to an end.
Composed of on-site practical skills (8000 hours), theory and practical institute learning the ITAB was a pathway for builders to achieve the New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry Level Four.
Unlike other apprentice schemes, ITAB gave apprentices the opportunity to be trained by a qualified educator with real industry experience - serving time on a building site learning practical skills but also attending classes at learning institutes such as Ara to complete necessary theory and assessments.
As of 31 December 2022, the scheme will be phased out by the eleven training institutes from around the country accredited to it, following the transition to Te Pūkenga. However existing apprentices under the scheme will be able to complete their training under the model.
Academic Staff member - Department of Trades Roger Bleyendaal, who has steered the ITAB programme at Ara Institute of Canterbury since 2003, said it was an excellent example of industry, employers and educators working hand in hand while giving apprentices a sense of working towards something bigger.
“It’s not just the training that they are doing, more it’s the fact that they are working towards being qualified and have the opportunity to be part of a community of builders who are trade qualified,” Bleyendaal said.
ITAB came about in 1998
That community is New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) which established ITAB in 1998 in part to address the concern that 70 percent of those in the industry were not trade qualified.
NZCB Industry Pathways and Apprenticeship manager Nick Matthews says from humble beginnings (just two participants in 2002) ITAB soon gained traction to become a well-known industry-recognised pathway valued by employers and apprentices.
“Members wanted apprentices to go offsite for training support and NZCB wanted the apprentices to be trade qualified – so the strategic goals were aligned, and ITAB was the pathway to helping achieve that,” Matthews said.
ITAB present at careers Expo on Ara Campus 2022
Bleyendaal said the institute-based learning element provided by Ara and other Institutes around NZ was a ‘good fit’ for many students, especially learners less able to work independently and the programme was refined as it grew.
“My aim was to develop the best possible experience for our learners at every opportunity while also changing with industry and future-proofing the learning journey,” he said.
Matthews said the system worked well “especially for less independent learners who have benefitted from the support offered through institutes like Ara which demonstrate exceptional dedication to the programme.
“Learning Institutions have driven this from an energy perspective. Ara Institute of Canterbury put a lot of effort into their programme and it grew to be one of the most successful in the country,” he says.
His sentiment was echoed by Todd Morel from Christchurch-based Morel Construction, who founded the company in 2009 and has 30 years' industry experience.
“As soon as we moved to ITAB in 2014, I had total confidence in the training side of things. I could pretty much leave Roger to it with confidence,” Morel said.
“It’s the model that’s worked the best for us by far,” he added. “We’ve had a dozen or more apprentices through it and we know they are in good hands with tutors who know their stuff and want to get the best out of our recruits.”
For his part, Bleyendaal would like to see more collaboration going forward.
“There’s nothing wrong with having different ideas and methods – but it would be good to bring it into a system that works for everybody.”
NZCB says it remains committed to quality training and support of carpentry apprentices and will be launching the NZCB Apprentice Network, a new membership service replacing ITAB, for members.
Apprentices looking to “earn while they learn” to complete their Certificate in Carpentry at Ara-Te Pūkenga can find more information here: Carpentry - Ara