Contractor (December 2015) Concrete Apprentice of the Year

01 Dec 2015

Rob Gaimster
Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ)

Industry awards have become de rigueur over recent decades as a way to recognize and honour individuals who, or companies that, have made a significant contribution to their field of endeavour.

And rightly so, as awards offer an opportunity to raise profile and make people feel that their work is valued, while the presentation ceremony itself is a chance for celebration and reflection.  Recognition also helps motivate people.


Across a two-year timeframe the wider concrete industry celebrates its own success in terms of ready mixed concrete, finishing and placing, engineering and architectural feats, as well as its contribution to a sustainable built environment.

In doing so we shine the light on a wide range of professionals, including concrete technicians, mix designers, operational staff and placers, as well as builders, architects and engineers.

Yet there is one group we have tended to neglect in terms of recognition – namely our people in training.


Although we place a premium on knowledge and experience, and recognise the value of existing expertise, we also realise that our workforce is ageing.

There is a strong argument for training based on the proposition that human capability is both a key asset and a critical risk for firms across the spectrum.

A priority for the wider concrete industry is therefore to train well and train appropriately in order to secure strong future prospects.

Trainees need not necessarily be young people, but rather those who have a desire to expand their skill set and become qualified professionals.

Having said that however, it is important to understand ‘Generation Y’ (15-35 year olds) as they will make up a significant proportion of the workforce by 2025.

Young workers need a reason to stay which is greater than that to leave.  Apprenticeships and mentoring can help greatly in this regard.


Everybody was young once and many of us were apprentices – someone provided the opportunity to gain trade skills.

To make sure the industry has enough qualified professionals to be sustainable; skilled and willing employers need to help shape the next generation.

Training others is also a good way to keep abreast of the latest industry developments and meet others in the industry.


While our industry is busy promoting the importance of training, we should take time to acknowledge the effort of current apprentices as well as the support offered by their employers.

To this end, the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) in association with the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), has recently announced that the inaugural Concrete Apprentice of the Year Award will be presented at the October 2016 New Zealand Concrete conference in Auckland.

The Award will be open to all trainees enrolled in Level 3 and 4 BCITIO concrete qualifications, including:

  • Precast Concrete
  • Concrete Production
  • Product Manufacture: Pipe
  • Product Manufacture: Masonry Product
  • Construction: Sawing & Drilling
  • Construction: Placing & Finishing
  • Concrete Construction

As the hard skills across these qualifications are reasonably distinct, wider personal attributes will also be considered as another set of criteria.

The supportive employer of the winning trainee will similarly be acknowledged, and therefore share in the triumph.

CCANZ looks forward to working with the BCITO over the coming months to identify the “best-of-the-best” in terms of concrete industry trainees, and sharing their success at next year’s Conference in the form of the Concrete Apprentice of the Year Award.


Industry outlay in training provides the basis for enhanced performance, to the benefit of all.

Not to do so would place customer relations at risk, and be expensive in terms of churn, recruitment, re-training and possible rework.

The development of this Award is testament to our industry’s ongoing commitment to training and the understanding that investment in our workforce today will yield valuable outcomes tomorrow.

Article appeared in Contractor magazine.