Finding good, reliable builder apprentices has sometimes been a challenge for NR Developments Director Nathan Robertson, who has been in the business since leaving school.

“It used to be that I could go through dozens of guys before I found a good one,” he says.

“But OCA has helped start to change that. They provide people who have an understanding of what the industry is all about and what’s expected from them in areas like turning up to work on time and ready to put in a good shift.”

Having been a builder himself from the age of 16, Nathan has always taken pride in his work.

“As a kid, I always wanted to be a builder,” he recalls.

“I worked weekends and holidays before I started fulltime as an apprentice. Getting the necessary qualifications gave me the foot in the door. I love going past a place I’ve built and telling my two young boys that I did it.”

His company NR Developments specialise in residential projects, from renovations to new builds to extensions.

Building projects are not without their challenges, with Auckland’s fickle weather being one of them. Having to cope with workers not turning up is one of the most frustrating.

“If someone doesn’t turn up to work, it can spoil what you have planned for the day. For example, you’re expecting the windows to be delivered so you can install them into the house frame ready for when the brickies (bricklayers) turn up the following day. If they’re not installed, then you have delays which push the job back further, which can be costly,” he says.

“I’ve found that the attitude coming from what OCA has instilled through their curriculum is fantastic.”

“To be on site on time, or even turn up earlier, be prepared and ready to go is the energy you want to see from young guys who want to become future builders, developers and project managers.”

“It’s all about their attitude and OCA’s done a great job to start with and my job is to extend that and make them great apprentices and qualified builders.”

Nathan adds the biggest plus the building industry offers is the range of career options.

“Some guys want to work for someone, which is fine for me, some work towards being project managers which is less hands on but more planning, and other want to run their own business,” he says.

“Regardless of which path you choose in this industry, if you’re good at what you do there’ll always be a demand for your services.”

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