If there is still a shortage in skilled workers for Christchurch, then firms will have to:

  1. Offer higher wages
  2. Offer training programs that rapidly upskill workers keen for an opportunity

There is no such thing as a shortage, just the reality that you are living in a fantasy world if you aren’t willing to pay a market clearing higher wage.

Immigration is not the answer unless you think that every single unemployed or underemployed person in New Zealand should be written off as “not capable of improving their lot in life”.

But when you consider the commercial illiteracy of many in the construction sector, it is more likely that a lot of whinging and moaning will occur. I mean, a non-trivial percentage of the sector doesn’t even send invoices electronically and offer multiple payment options so they aren’t constantly chasing overdue invoices!

Some even take weeks to respond to quote request emails, so they deserve everything they get if their SME life is a struggle and they don’t want to upskill their own management and technology skills.

The government clearly has no intention of putting apprenticeships and industry training on an equal footing with tertiary study anytime soon. The amount of money that goes into trade training is a rounding error compared to how much goes on “society and culture” or “sports management” degrees.

This means that building a skilled workforce can only happen through the efforts of firms that are willing to take the risk and reap the rewards of making New Zealand a relatively attractive option for skilled blue collar workers.

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