On a recent visit to the Kaituna sawmill I met two men who have embarked on promising careers through apprenticeships.
One graduate, Izaac Filipov, is the saw centre operator. Izaac uses high tech gear to remotely drive machinery that breaks up logs. He is the first modern apprentice to graduate under Forest Industries training (FITEC) which is an Industry Training Organisation (ITO).
Colin King with Izaac Filipov in the saw centre at Kaituna sawmill
The other apprentice is Jamie Howieson, whose apprenticeship has led to his job as a sawdoctor, a career that sees him handling some enormous band saw blades.
Colin with Jamie Howieson, Head Sawdoctor.
These young men are in control of equipment that affects the Kaituna sawmill’s productivity. The fact they have these jobs through modern apprenticeships is testimony to management’s positive attitude to taking on apprentices.
The general manager says he looks for aptitude, attitude and attendance in potential apprentices and it is the lack of these three qualities that is a real barrier to employment today.
Those three ‘A’s are a recipe for success that needs to be tied into our education curriculum and what our youngsters are taught at home.
If our young people look unemployable, a business that is otherwise willing can easily decide it doesn’t want the aggravation. Most businesses in the current economic climate are stretched and it can all seem too hard if there’s a lack of the three ‘A’s.
We can’t allow this to continue so congratulations to the Kaituna sawmill, a business I hope will continue to employ enthusiastic Marlborough youth.
As a community we must support our young people and wherever possible teach them the value in adopting a strong work ethic. At the same time we need to address the ingrained perception that taking on young people is just too hard.
If we can get kids work ready and encourage employers to rethink and go the extra mile we will achieve a great deal. Leaving our young people on the scrap heap is not acceptable – they are the product of their home life and education – parents, schools and government must not fail them.