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Media release


James Clarijs (left) and Rory Tai (right) were thrilled to be chosen for Ryman Healthcare’s in-house apprenticeship scheme.

Apprentice numbers ramped up

Ryman's bid to 'grow its own' tradies gets a push

Ryman Healthcare is doing its bit to solve the shortage of skilled construction workers by ramping up the number of apprentices in its construction arm.

The retirement village builder and operator has partnered up with a national training provider to boost the number of skilled workers it has on board in anticipation of the significant growth ahead as demand for retirement living grows.

Ryman Healthcare is working on a multi-billion dollar build programme, with 16 new retirement villages in the pipeline, including nine in New Zealand and another seven in Australia.

Recruitment manager Matt Wright said the rapid rate of Ryman’s growth had underlined the need to get quality tradies on the books now so that there would be good leaders to call upon in the future.

“While we’ve had apprentices for years, we’ve been talking a lot recently about a ‘grow our own’ philosophy,” he said.

“And as the demand for good people is only going to increase we thought it was time to ramp it up a bit and make it a bit more structured.

“Ultimately, the goal is to get more people through the programme and into a management role.”

Ryman has formed a partnership with Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).

Ryman has recruited 12 apprentices into its scheme and is looking for more.

Matt said the benefits included BCITO’s national network of reps who can be on site on a weekly basis.

“Partnering with them will also help us raise the profile and let people know we are an organisation that works closely with BCITO,” he said.

There were three main sources for candidates: Ryman’s own pool of labourers; labour hire companies, and other BCITO students.

“Basically, if a project manager or senior manager on site sees a bit of potential, someone who does a good job, works hard and shows a bit of ambition, then we’re keen to put them through a proper programme and give them a chance to progress.”

Matt said apprenticeships typically last about four years, but could take more time or less.

“The success of the scheme comes down to the attitude and drive of the apprentice and the guys supporting their development, the qualified tradies, leading hand and foreman on site who take responsibility for their training.”

Where there might be gaps in the tasklist then it’s down to Ryman to help the apprentice fill that gap.

“If that’s happening we will help bridge the gap,” he said.

Rory Tai and James Clarijs are both apprentices at the Bert Sutcliffe Retirement Village in Auckland having come to the site through an agency.

They both said they felt ‘stoked’ to be approached about joining the apprentice programme.

“I was rapt,” says Rory, 23, who has now worked at the site for three years, honing his carpentry skills under Constantine Ciobanu.

“I have done all the rangehoods, the parapets, the decks and pergolas, basically all the special parts that need to be built and can’t be pre-ordered.”

When Constantine shifted to Ryman’s Devonport site, Rory took over the special projects role.

“They have been trying to push me to more management roles to be leading hand by the end of this job. It’s good, it gives me that bit of responsibility.”

James, 20, said he felt good about doing the apprenticeship.

“I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity. Having somebody to help you understand what you’re doing and why is really important,” he said.

About Ryman:

Ryman Healthcare was founded in Christchurch in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies, employing 5,000 staff. Ryman owns and operates 33 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia. Ryman villages offer a combination of retirement living and aged care and are home to 10,800 residents.

Media advisory:

For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 021 499 602 or david.king@rymanhealthcare.com.

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