Building new warm homes creates apprenticeship opportunities in Lower Hutt

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Published: 21 May 2024

As affordable, warm homes are built in Lower Hutt, so too are career pathways with an impressive 45 apprentices currently working on Urban Plus housing projects.

Since 2018, Urban Plus – the social housing development arm of Hutt City Council – has overseen the completion of five housing projects with a total of 124 homes.

A further 60 homes, including five accessible homes, are currently under construction at five sites.

Work on another 67 homes across three sites will start in the coming months.

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry is delighted that by boosting the city’s housing stock apprenticeship opportunities have flourished.

“The fact that so many apprentices are working on Urban Plus developments, and beginning careers in a range of trades, is a fantastic outcome for the city.”

Urban Plus Chief Executive Daniel Moriarty says creating apprenticeships with career progression is a key component in each of its housing developments.

“We have a panel for our contractors of about six construction entities where apprenticeships, amongst many things, are discussed. In our contracts we ask them to onboard as many apprentices as possible for each project.

Moriarty says apprentices are sourced through a variety of ways including through an established relationship with Petone-based tertiary institution WelTec that’s paying off in spades.

“When there’s a need for an apprentice, we often ask our contractors to directly approach WelTec. The supportive WelTec teams go out of their way to help find the right person for a specific apprenticeship, sometimes through Māori and Pasifika Trades Training which partners with organisations like Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa for ākonga (students) and work opportunities. It’s a fantastic arrangement.

The 45 apprentices working on Urban Plus projects are undertaking apprenticeships in a range of occupations including electricians, plumbers, builders, painters and plasterers.

The Head of the Whitireia and WelTec School of Construction and Engineering Trades, Neil McDonald, says their ākonga gain transferable skills and knowledge to enter the industry as apprentices.

“Their continued onsite learning is supported through night class tutorials and workshops by highly experienced tutors. Support from organisations like Urban Plus ensures we have a strong pipeline of workers to support local construction and infrastructure needs.”

Urban Plus builds Homestar-rated homes. This ensures a healthier, warmer, drier, and more comfortable home that uses less power and water than a similar home built to the minimum standard of the New Zealand Building Code.

Mayor Barry hosted a hui last month with key social housing stakeholders in Lower Hutt to discuss some of the key issues facing the sector.

“The hui showed the strength and ambition of housing and support providers in Lower Hutt. The successes we are seeing with apprentices is a result of strong partnerships across the sector.

“I’m confident these partnerships will continue to grow and thrive as we look at the challenges and opportunities we have ahead of us in the social housing sector.”

About Urban Plus Ltd

Urban Plus is a multi-faceted property management and development company, pre-dominantly focused on social and public housing outcomes. It owns and manages a rental housing portfolio of approximately 200 units within various areas of Lower Hutt, aimed at providing housing for the low-income elderly, charging below-market rents.

Urban Plus procures and develops land/property with multiple outcomes in mind, such as:

Developing and releasing discounted housing for the first home buyer and owner-occupier target markets.

Working with our partners to develop and supply new Community Housing.

Growing its own housing stock to provide more options in the long-term rental space.

Urban Plus aligns with providers who deliver progressive home ownership and long-term rental outcomes such as Habitat For Humanity, DwellTe Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui Inc , He Herenga Kura,  and Tuatahi Centre​. Urban Plus actively participates in the market to procure land for development with the intention to grow in all aspects of its operations.

About Whitirea and Weltec

Find out more about Carpentry and Trades options available at Whitireia and WelTec here.