Next Generation - Jobseekers into work

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Two young jobseekers have entered into plumbing apprenticeships, thanks to a Skills for Industry initiative between Masterlink, Master Plumbers and the Ministry of Social Development. We caught up on progress with their host employers, who receive a $10,000 subsidy.

Masterlink and Master Plumbers, in association with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), are offering a subsidy to plumbing, drainlaying and gasfitting businesses that take on MSD jobseekers as Masterlink apprentices through a Skills for Industry initiative.

It's a win-win for the host, who receives a $10,000 subsidy, and the jobseeker, who gets started on a trades career, complete with PPE and toolkit, and also has part of their Masterlink apprenticeship sign-up fee paid for them.

Host employer: Adam Brice, HighFlow Plumbing, Christchurch
Apprentice: Scott Robinson

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Above: Adam Brice (left) and new Masterlink apprentice Scott Robinson, who has a background in the electrical trade.

Adam Brice set up his Christchurch business three and a half years ago, specialising in residential housing and maintenance. He was looking for an apprentice to join him when Masterlink regional manager Sam Timlin approached him to let him know about the $10,000 Skills for Industry subsidy.

Jobseeker Scott Robinson was wanting to get back into the workforce, having had previous experience in the electrical trade, and Adam decided to take him on. “Because Scott had done a trade before, he knew his way round a building site and the basic tools,” says Adam. “Taking on an apprentice does mean finding time to show them the ropes but he has a good work ethic and it’s going well.”

Scott says he loves the diversity of plumbing. “One day I might be doing slab work, the next day a bathroom and the day after fitting out a just built house. I’m doing my apprenticeship in all three trades and really enjoying it.”

Host employer: Karl Boniface, Karl Boniface Plumbing, Invercargill
Apprentice: Jeremy Bowmar

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Above: Karl Boniface (left) with Masterlink plumbing and drainlaying apprentice Jeremy Bowmar

Jeremy Bowmar had been out of work for some time. Despite actively looking as an MSD jobseeker, he’d been knocked back every time. When Karl Boniface was looking for a roofer to complete a major contract at his Invercargill plumbing firm, Jeremy applied, hoping this time he might be successful.

“He turned up to the interview looking a bit rough around the edges, but we could tell straight away he had a nice personality and could relate well to people,” recalls Karl. “He was very open about the fact that he’d made some poor life decisions, but the deciding factor for us was that he was keen to get stuck in and make something of his life.”

The MSD Skills for Industry package with Masterlink took the risk out of taking Jeremy on, he says. “We got good support from them, which gave us the confidence to try him out.”

Jeremy arrived on day one kitted up with the tools he needed, and MSD also provided funding for Karl to get him a vehicle he could use to get to and from work during his three-month trial. “It took a lot of trust, but we had some frank and open discussions about what we expected of him and told him we’d give him a go,” says Karl.

Within just a few days, Jeremy had started helping out with plumbing work at the firm and was showing a strong aptitude and interest. “Masterlink Regional Manager Brendan Parker put him through the assessment and he passed with flying colours, so we took him on as a plumbing and drainlaying apprentice,” says Karl.

Jeremy has since worked “with 100% satisfaction” across the team of 11 tradespeople at Karl Boniface Plumbing, which specialises in domestic and commercial maintenance, repairs and upgrades. He’s settled in well and is now five months into his apprenticeship.

“He desperately wanted to find a future and the MSD package made it easier for us to give him the chance to prove himself—and he’s smashed it out of the park,” says Karl.

This blog has been adapted from an article in NZ Plumber magazine, Dec 2019-Jan 2020 issue.