To compete on a global stage, Christchurch manufacturing company Wyma Solutions needs more apprentices fast.
The company is investing in training and growing local talent to combat a skills shortage in the engineering industry through closer relationships with the regional tertiary provider, Ara Institute of Canterbury.
Wyma Solutions Production Manager Michael Anderson says that the company often struggled to find the people it needed, so instead turned to young talent and more investment in training.
“We’re growing quickly and we need more highly-skilled people to compete internationally. It’s difficult to find people with the right skillset in the market so we’re investing in apprentice training through Ara to grow our team and our production,” he says.
The post-harvest equipment manufacturers currently have nine apprentices training through Ara and aim to double that number over the next two years to meet their specialised staffing needs.
Engineers working in the manufacturing industry need to be multi-skilled and creative thinkers, Anderson says.
“We don’t just plonk our staff at one point in an assembly line to do the same thing day in, day out. Every machine we make is customised and we need staff that can problem-solve and complete a variety of tasks.
“We choose to train through Ara because their tutors are experienced and have broad knowledge. They are recognised in New Zealand as a leading tertiary educational institute who provide world-class training and have top-notch facilities and equipment.”
Apprentices attend block courses and night classes at Ara. They also have a ‘buddy’ at Wyma Solutions to teach them the basics and help them progress through their training.
“Ara provides them with the skills to become competent tradespeople and we assist them in growing.”
Wyma Solutions also enhances their apprentices’ training further through exchanges with other companies to expose their young talent to the many different aspects of engineering.
“Engineering is broad and that’s what makes it exciting. We want our apprentices to go out and experience other things, then come back to us with added skills and fresh eyes,” Anderson says.
Many of Wyma Solutions’ former apprentices now have key roles in the company and their career development doesn’t stop there. The company is currently looking at Ara courses to upskill team leaders and front-line management. They also often take on young pre-trade graduates from Ara, with the aim of progressing them into further training.
Ultimately Anderson says that Wyma Solutions wants to get as many staff as possible through formal training in order to enhance its already highly-skilled workforce and compete with large manufacturers overseas.
“By choosing to train staff through Ara, we are investing in the future of Wyma and boosting our ability to compete on the global stage.”