Central Leader : April 6th 2011
6 CENTRAL LEADER, APRIL 6, 2011 NEWS * name has been changed to protect anonymity A loving home needed can you help? Tane* is a ten-year-old boy in need of a caring, stable home to grow up in. He has high and complex needs, but is also a keen soccer player with a good sense of humour. Tane has a network of support, and the family who take on his care will be supported by a knowledgeable team. Tane would fare best in a home where he is the only child or youngest by some years. You need to be: warm hearted & humorous • have plenty of me to give • able to talk about your • emo onal responses not have any major • unresolved loss or grief, or unresolved abuse issues willing to be part of a team • able to maintain consistent • structure and boundaries if in a rela onship, • both partners must be commi ed to being long term carers Could you care for Tane? 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Melanie asks: What about me? It looks as if there s been a bit of chat over smoko this week about apprenticeships and the problems involved. About bureaucrats in Wellington, white collar men who don t know one end of a spanner from another, about training conditions which don t match the needs of the trades. And about companies who wave bigger packets -- and cleaner overalls -- to lure good young guys away from trades that need them -- and skills the country depends on. Also in the mailbag, a plea for a chance from a qualified and jobless electrician called Melanie. Dave Roberts -- I m a toolmaker, served my time in the United King- dom. At 25 I applied for a New Zealand-government sponsored migration. I arrived in 1966, worked in most of the larger companies that employed toolmakers. The only Kiwis in the industry then were apprentices. Ninety-nine percent of all the toolmakers I ve worked with until the late 90s were foreigners -- Brits, Germans, Dutch, Americans, French, Hungarian, Chinese, Thai. During that time, very few apprentices -- and I worked with plenty -- carried on with their trade. Most gave it away in the first few months of qualifying. I started my own engineering business in the 80s, to train apprentices, to pass on my know- ledge and skills that I had acquired over the years. What a waste of time, with no legal contract over apprenticeships. Most only lasted two to three years -- lured away as semi-skilled workers for manufacturing compan- ies. You ll be aware that most trainees are pretty useless for the first six months. They need a huge amount of attention and supervis- ion. They are really starting to show promise -- when they approach with a demand for a large raise, which has been promised by a third party. And they re gone. The other problem, most young people have an inflated value of their worth, and wish to be brain surgeons, architects, computer wizards. Not to wear overalls, and do manual work. So you never see or meet the really bright students. Only the lower grades apply for what are considered manual jobs. I still work at my trade and I am 69. I have no problem securing work, because the barrel of toolma- kers is fairly empty. Robin Trevallion -- I came from the UK seven years ago as a quali- fied gasfitter. I have had two Kiwi lads doing their plumbing training and needing to work with a gasfitter to complete their plumbing appren- ticeship. I have trained many apprentices in more than 30 years as a gasfitter and can honestly say they were two of the best that I have had. Unfortunately both failed their final exams and have left the plumbing industry. Why? A plumbing apprentice in New Zealand has to have knowledge of plumbing, both commercial and domestic, roofing, spouting, refrigeration, air conditioning and gasfitting. This is far too much. My gasfit- ting apprenticeship alone was a five-year fulltime undertaking. The plumbing apprenticeship should be a three-year deal with roofing, refrigeration and air-conditioning as optional extras served at the end. Gasfitting should be a separate three-year apprenticeship at the end of which you have one class of gasfitter who has been trained to a level allowing him or her to sign off their own work. New Zealand has two categories of gasfitter, a registered gasfitter, ie, a plumber -- and a certified gas- fitter. Every job done by a regis- tered gasfitter is supposed to be supervised, checked and signed off by someone certified. Only one problem with this -- there aren t enough certifying gas- fitters to cope. By law every house- holder who has a gas installation has to have a gas certificate. If they don t have one, home insurance could be invalid along with the possibility that the work hasn t been carried out properly. Why aren t there enough certify- ing gasfitters? Any registered gas- fitter who wants to become a certifier has to sit examinations on building codes, health and safety legislation, employment law, tax law and GST. Plus local authority legislation and government bodies involved with building legislation. They then have to buy expensive additional testing equipment, go to at least two training days per year and a day s audit once every two years -- forever. If they fail to comply with any of these conditions they lose their licence to work. This is regulated by the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drain- layers Board to ensure public safety. Fair enough, except that there hasn t been any deaths in New Zealand attributed to faulty gasfitting work. The accidents have been caused by portable gas cabinet heaters that are not covered by the gas legis- lation. This type of appliance is banned in Europe and I think now in Australia as well. No wonder youngsters don t want to be tradesmen! Bill Smythe: I too am a veteran tradesman, plumbing-gas-drainage- roofing, upskilled in 1994 for extra qualification. But I m finding all these new, upgrading, re-skilling requirements a bit daunting. I ve been in business since 1960, all my working life as a licensed, registered tradesman. I m a real plumber -- 12 years training, 12,000 hours apprentice- ship. Never had any complaints or fines on any of my licences -- mainly concentrating on commercial work ie, Sanitarium Health Food, Manu- kau Knitting Mills, Devonport Naval Base, etc. But the powers that be in Wel- lington seem to think I don t know what I m doing. I keep telling them I m not a halfwit. My first million dollars was the worst, how was theirs? Have they made theirs yet? In Wellington everybody s out clipping the ticket. The New Zea- land licences are for only one year ($210 for each licence). In Australia a licence is good for three years, in Britain it s good for five years. Experience doesn t happen by accident. It happens with age. But we don t recognise this in New Zea- land -- we export it. Did you read where the Canberra government says it needs thousands of over-65s to go back to work? PB: Yes I did see that, including a suggestion that Aussie pensioners might be allowed to earn up to NZ$8450 before their pension was affected. How about that? Wouldn t it be better to invest in the potential skills of the young rather than recalling the old who, at best, are very much a temporary and part solution? Melanie Boyd -- As an unem- ployed electrician looking for work I find it irritating to be told there is a tradesperson shortage. If you know of an employer seeking an NZCE qualified indus- trial electrician with more than 15 years New Zealand experience please let me know. 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April 1st 2011
April 8th 2011