Mark van Wijk
The old belief that apprenticeships are only for those who can’t get into university is doing the construction industry a huge disservice, says construction manager Mark van Wijk of Currie Construction.
Construction and other technical industries today need young people who can use their intelligence as well as their hands he says.
“It’s a field that has been undervalued by the system for many years. For generations students have been told that if they want to do well they should go to university. In reality some of the most successful people in our community started their business careers as apprentices.”
In this day and age, builders and engineers needed to be conversant with things such as quantity surveying, design technology, project management and virtual reality scoping.
These skills could take students a long way into fields they may not have dreamed of at the start.
“We need clever and enthusiastic people who are willing to learn,” he said.
“EIT has the facilities, systems and skilled tutors to get people into the top of the field. But the people guiding students need to stop viewing technical jobs and the last resort.”
Currie Construction takes on between 4-6 apprentices each year and has given countless young people their start in construction over the past few decades.
“It’s very satisfying to watch the newcomers progress through the system. Many have gone on to run successful businesses of their own,” says Mark.