In just over a year Caleb Stachurski has hammered out a flourishing career built on hard work, determination, and Build a Bach.
The 17-year-old is an apprentice builder for Howard Jones Builders in New Plymouth and is already eyeing a long career in the trade.
“I want to get my apprenticeship, which takes four years, head overseas and work, and then maybe set up my own business,” Caleb says.
It’s a clear plan, made possible by Caleb’s involvement in the Build a Bach scheme, run by Taranaki Futures and WITT.
“I didn’t really like school that much – I only enjoyed horticulture and workshop. It was suggested that I do this course and I really enjoyed it – it taught us everything we needed to know for being able to go out and get a job in the building industry,” Caleb says.
Build a Bach began in 2012 with the aim of creating a pathway from school to the building industry. The practical learning takes students out of the classroom and immerses them in the trade, giving them a head start when it comes to finding a job.
For the first term students spend a day a week at WITT, and under the tutelage of qualified builder Chris Gibson, learn about tools, and tool maintenance and safety. They also begin some practical lessons, such as making a saw stool.
From term two until the end of the year, students are at WITT five days a week working on the major project – building a ‘bach’. During Caleb’s course, in 2015, the group built a new management office for Brooklands Zoo, and in 2016, the group are building a two-bedroom house, which will be sold once completed.“We run it like a building site,” says Chris. “It’s about the team working together. Each day I make one of the team the foreman and he’s in charge. He liaises with me about what needs to be done and then the group gets on and does it. I give advice and guidance where needed, but the group pretty much build it themselves.”
While the students don’t attend school from term two onwards, literacy and numeracy are embedded in the course and they work towards NCEA level two. And, most importantly, the course has provided a direct route to employment. In 2015, five members of the group gained apprenticeships, including Caleb.
“The tutor recommended me for a job and I pretty much finished the course and went straight into the job. I worked as a hammer hand for a start but am now working on my apprenticeship,” Caleb says.
“Build a Bach definitely helped me get a job – I wouldn’t have got one without it.”
Thank you to generous Build a Bach Project Partners: