The demand for qualified and skilled people in the construction sector is not easing, with the most recent National Construction Pipeline Report, commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), indicating sustained growth for the building and construction sector nationally. The 2018 forecast is for activity to remain at current elevated levels until at least the end of 2020, with growth expected from 2021 to over $41b in 2023.
Demand can only be met if the sector is able to secure enough qualified people. This requires an all of sector response and support, and as it takes time to train qualified professionals, a sense of urgency and immediacy is apparent.
Sometimes people training on-the-job may have limited exposure to the full spectrum of industry experience available. That’s the nature of the industry because of specialisation, and technological advancements. Trainees are best equipped with exposure to large scale projects and smaller niche projects, as well as the full range of construction activities. In the New Zealand construction sector tradespeople tend to work in smaller construction firms managing smaller scale projects or for a large company dealing with one aspect of the build process. This can limit their exposure to all facets.
Online learning is a versatile and flexible way to acquire knowledge of the full range of construction activities. eCampus NZ and their partner ITPs, working alongside the Building Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) will provide both on-the-job and theory learning via online delivery. The goal of this partnership approach is to enable more people in construction and those wanting to enter the industry, to undertake formal qualifications through methods that suit their work commitments and lifestyles.
A delivery network across New Zealand will support those already working in construction to gain access to education and will help learners wishing to join the industry to access learning as well.
In recognition of this, eCampus NZ has formed a sector collaboration to deliver training to cadets in the workplace. Leveraging BCITO, ITP and eCampus NZ expertise, from October 2019 eCampus NZ is pleased to announce it will offer the New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Level 6).
Pamela Simpson, Chief Executive of eCampus NZ says “eCampus NZ is delivering a course that has been developed from a learner experience perspective with highly integrated case studies supported by a virtual reality experience. Learners don’t just get taught; they get hands-on experience in real life situations to cement on-the-job training. Through the use of virtual simulation and integrated construction industry software applications, learners will be immersed in a real context, setting the learning apart from anything else available through other providers”.
Greg Durkin, GM Education and Stakeholder Engagement at BCITO says, “We are delighted to partner with eCampus NZ to support this initiative and believe this online delivery method will help tradespeople progress to higher level opportunities within the industry and enhance post-apprenticeship learning using the latest digital technology available.
“Our support is critical to programme development and we are providing subject matter experts. In addition, we will work with students to support workplace assessment, while eCampus NZ and partner ITPs will deliver the training, assessment oversight and quality assurance, and qualification awarding.
eCampus NZ will be supporting Learners in a way that best suits their own circumstances by allowing learners to move in and out of training as their circumstances change and there will also be some flexibility to accommodate increased workloads as they arise.
The NZ Diploma in Construction provides two strands of learning, Quantity Surveying and Construction Management, and will be delivered as a collaboration between partners.
“We need to seriously contemplate training delivery methods in this environment where demand for highly-skilled, qualified people is at the most extreme it has ever been in New Zealand’s construction sector. The eCampus NZ option will go some way towards encouraging greater numbers to extend and formalise their skill base to help meet this demand,” says Greg Durkin.