ATNZ continues to increase the number of apprentices we employ in the engineering and related sectors. We achieve this by providing a valuable service to our host companies that supports them to grow their business. Our apprentices choose us because we engage with them, mentor them and help them manage the challenges involved in completing their qualifications.
This means we are able to address the skills’ shortage across the mechanical engineering, print, plastics, sign making and, more recently, the automotive industries. We are also very pleased to see continued growth in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration sector. Overall, this year saw our highest-ever annual intake of apprentices.
2018 saw more progress in many of the plans implemented in previous years, which helped achieve the strategic objectives of the Trust. There were personnel changes in the management team of ATNZ, however, well established procedures meant many key objectives were still met.
Our strong focus on our employer responsibilities,particularly in health and safety continued to add value to our apprentices, particularly in our account manager’s monthly apprentice and host company visits. An increase in the number of apprentices on our Health and Safety Committee also encouraged greater inclusion and built stronger relationships between our apprentices, ATNZ and host companies.As part of this health and safety commitment the mental and emotional wellbeing of our apprentices remained a top priority for Apprentice Days in 2018, with another presentation from Mike King. We were also pleased to engage an employee assistance programme provider, OCP, which includes an 0800 number support service that provides counselling and support for our apprentices throughout New Zealand, with complete anonymity. The figures on how many of our apprentices have used the service since it began, reinforce our belief that these services are a necessary benefit for the most vulnerable New Zealand workers – young people.
Our team remains committed to improvements in operational efficiency and designing a business that seamlessly provides high levels of service in this fast-paced sector. Training of ATNZ front line account managers in 2018, concentrated on increasing the skills required to facilitate those services. Recruitment of the best possible candidates for our host companies is an ongoing focus for us and we have plans to improve this further in the months ahead.
Our Trust Board’s support of growth in particular sectors, such as the start of a partnership with MTA for automotive apprenticeships, means our organisation can continue to expand.
The ATNZ brand continues to get stronger with the establishment of the Apprentice of the Year award.The first-ever winner in this inaugural year was Caleb Orotaunga from Kraft Heinz in Christchurch. We were delighted to read so many strong submissions for the title and believe the momentum will grow even more in the years to come.
Since joining the ATNZ team last year, I have been continually amazed to see and hear the success stories of our apprentices as they move through some of the highest levels of apprenticeship completions in NZ industry, supported by a dedicated and passionate team of account managers, human resources, payroll and management personnel.Alongside our people, our processes and tools continue to grow this business even further, which means ATNZ is well placed for a strong performance in 2019.
General Manager, ATNZ