Building toward a better future

by Andy Bryenton

The foundations of the lifestyle we enjoy rest on the abilities of those who make it all possible. Without qualified tradespeople to provide us with stable and comfortable homes outfitted with the best in modern conveniences, we’d still literally be in the dark ages. So it’s a good thing that our local professionals have learned the array of skills they bring to the Kaipara — and that so many of them are passing this knowledge on to a new generation.

While academic excellence and university education are undoubtedly important, so too is the time-honoured apprenticeship method of learning a trade. In fact, when Oxford University, the first great seat of learning in Britain was built in 1096, those who constructed its first halls were stonemasons, carpenters and smiths trained under the apprenticeship programmes of the great medieval guilds.

Today, apprenticeships are far more modern, but each one comprises both a theory component and a whole lot of learning ‘hands-on’, out in the field with established professionals.

It means two things — not just a guarantee that there will be electricians, plumbers, builders, mechanics, engineers and more available to tackle the problems of the future, but also that those who currently answer the call when we need the help of a pro have learned their craft just as comprehensively as those in other professions. Perhaps one could say more so, in some cases — a tertiary diploma can take far less time to earn than the title of a qualified tradesperson. It takes even more years of experience and expertise to then pass on those abilities.

As another school year turns toward exam time, many of our brightest young people will be making decisions about their future careers. That’s why it’s positive to acknowledge at this time that some of the best education providers we know are actually the business owners in our neighbourhoods, providing apprenticeship and learning opportunities for the next generation. At this busy time for building, renovation and other practical tasks, it’s a reminder to only rely on those with the right qualifications to get the job done right.