Building Futures - literally

Newly armed with their driver’s license, forklift license, first aid certificate, and a bunch of practical skills, six graduates of a new industry-led pre-employment course have joined the workforce.

Building Futures, led by Tumu Group, is designed to provide a pathway for young people into the timber processing, building supplies and related industries. Two recent graduates have been employed by Tumu Timbers, one as a nailing line/robot nailer operator, a second as a yardperson, while others have been employed by external companies.

Another eight have almost finished the second course, while a third course will start on November 8. The first course in the new year starts on January 17. Applicants to the upcoming courses are being sought now.

Building Futures is a collaborate initiative, with course costs funded by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Tumu providing the required facilities, pastoral care and course co-ordination, and Hastings District Council providing planning and communications support. MSD and Tumu are working together to source some of the training candidates although wider networks will be used to source a range of candidates.

The courses are available to young job seekers (17 to 26) and school leavers, so it’s a “win/win” for industry and people looking for a career in timber processing, building supplies or construction, says Tumu Timbers General Manager James Truman.

“In the industry we know we need a lot more workers, so we decided to do something about it. We are especially keen to work with people who may have struggled to find a way into these industries, or are leaving school and want a leg-up into the world of timber, building supplies or construction.”

The fully-rounded eight-week pre-employment courses include pastoral care; helping young people learn ready-to-work skills (working in a team, punctuality, importance of a good attitude, healthy living, budgeting), as well as practical skills: product knowledge, driver’s license, forklift license, and first aid certificate. The courses also include work experience with prospective employers.

“We decided to look at the timber and building industries as a whole, rather than just making it about Tumu Group,” says Mr Truman. “So while we are keen to take on graduates here at Tumu, we’re fully aware that there is a much wider need for workers and that some may prefer to work in other sectors of the industries.”

A typical day over the first three weeks kicks off with an exercise session and a shared breakfast. “We want them to see that being part of a team is a positive thing. You can make mates for life in this industry. Our hope is that they really enjoy their time on the course, pick up the skills they need to get a start in the industry, and then support each other as they move forward.”

Those first three weeks also include information on the opportunities within the different sectors of the industries, a team-building overnight trip, training for their licences and certificates, and basic industry skills. That is followed up with five weeks of work placements.

School leavers and job seekers who want to apply for the course can click the ‘Apply Now’ button below