Pacific Steel NZ employs 160 people at its South Auckland steel manufacturing plant and over the last 15 years, 24 ATNZ apprentices have graduated through the company’s apprentice training scheme. Prior to working with ATNZ, Pacific Steel found the apprentice recruitment process time consuming and quite difficult.
“We found ourselves confronted with trying to find suitable apprentices, which took a huge amount of time, and after employing them, we were then faced with trying to establish exactly what work they were required to complete to gain the respective Unit Standards. It was complicated and got to the point where it was almost a full time role,” explains Pacific Steel’s Maintenance Superintendent, Eddie Green.
“ATNZ’s account managers are also fully familiar with the NZQA requirements and are able to mark the work and keep track of an individual’s progress, and ensure they are up to date with their training. It’s an invaluable service.”
Currently ATNZ has four apprentices, including one female, seconded to Pacific Steel and working towards their National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. The company does however, have openings for more apprentices.
ATNZ Account Manager Bevan Prince says in addition to the apprentices, there are four staff working on their Level 5 General and Maintenance qualification. “These people have already gained their National Certificates in Maintenance and Diagnostics, Level 4 Mechanical Engineering and General Engineering qualifications. It’s great they are upskilling and continuing on their learning journey.”
Bevan is a regular visitor to Pacific Steel, with monthly apprentice progress meetings and assessments. “This is where ATNZ is the perfect partner for Pacific Steel – the steel manufacturer can concentrate on its core business while ATNZ manages the apprentices,” he says.
Eddie says the most significant benefit of working with ATNZ is the support and reporting functions they provide.
“Due to the number of apprentices we have at our sites we require a high level of administration be able to accommodate one or two apprentices at any one time. Their support enables us to safely manage the training of several apprentices across our sites. Having this capacity enables us to incorporate apprentices into our maintenance teams where they have input and become a highly- valued part of our workforce.”
For Pacific Steel, taking on ATNZ apprentices means there are no hidden costs, with the company only paying for the apprentice’s hours worked and some site- specific training requirements.
Pacific Steel will only engage mechanical apprentices through the ATNZ group scheme and Bevan sees the partnership between the two organisations continuing into the future. “ATNZ is seen as a trusted adviser to the business and my role extends to the pastoral care of the apprentices. We have built up a very strong relationship over the years.”
“Our company and senior management team are 100% committed to apprentice training and we are very proud of the high calibre of tradespeople we ultimately introduce into the workforce,” adds Eddie.
“Pacific Steel has a very diverse workforce culture and we’re happy to see this reflected in our apprentices. I strongly encourage any business that may be seriously considering training apprentices to contact ATNZ and have an initial discussion with them. Whilst the apprentices do cost money, they also create throughput which adds value, and often, a different perspective to the business.”