It all started with a keen interest in operating heavy machinery and it has led to an industry qualification for Raj Prasad.
Raj is a long-time employee of Auckland-based civil-engineering company Vuksich and Borich and was recently accredited as a Civil Tradesperson after achieving his Civil Infrastructure Apprenticeship in Earthworks. This was a milestone not only for Raj, but also industry training provider Connexis, as Raj was the 500th Civil Trades graduate.
Civil Infrastructure Apprenticeships are practical skills-based qualifications achieved on the job. They offer a structured career pathway and are the steppingstone to becoming a recognised civil tradesperson.
Raj says, “I’ve found the certification study a very knowledgeable and inspiring journey. I enjoyed doing the course as this was part of my everyday job with learning and help provided by both Vuksich and Borich and Connexis.
“Achieving a trade certificate is very important because it’s a recognition of the knowledge a person holds. I would definitely encourage others to do this mainly because it’s easier than it looks and during the process you gain a lot of knowledge and understanding of safety, everyday operations and becoming a certified tradesman has never been easier.”
Raj has worked for Vuksich and Borich for 10 years and is now a civil earthworks Construction Supervisor. “I started as a grader operator and was promoted to a leading hand for various sites around Auckland. During my first five years with V&B I operated excavators, bulldozers, bulldozer and scoop, loaders, truck and trailer units along with articulated and heavy rigid trucks and the fuel service truck.
“I also hold a trade certificate in heavy commercial vehicle maintenance, so I spent a bit of time in our workshop to assist with the workloads that were needed from time to time.”
Raj says he works with a brilliant team of people. “And not forgetting the tremendous amount of help I have had from my fellow staff, the board of directors, management, and our Health and Safety Manager Andrew Dronjak. I also have an awesome team of Operators and Labourers that works under my supervision on various sites.”
And Raj’s aspiration for the future. “I would definitely like to take on more courses with various modules if there’s some available relevant to my role and step up as a senior construction supervisor.”
Connexis Chief Executive Toby Beaglehole adds, “Raj’s achievement is fantastic in its own right, and it’s also a celebration of the other 499 industry-qualified civil tradesperson, which is a great milestone for New Zealand. Civil Trades was launched December 2015 to recognise qualified and competent tradespeople within our Civil Infrastructure workforce.”
As part of the vocational education sector, Connexis knows industry training is a vital part of responding to the workforce changes that COVID-19 has brought to New Zealand.
“It’s an important time to upskill or reskill people and utilise skills across industries. With border closures restricting the supply of overseas workers who represent 6.5% of the construction workforce, there’s a real need to build a local workforce with the required skills in a timely manner,” Toby says.
“Connexis is here to provide support to industry in all aspects of education and training. The Government’s Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) will create a unified, regionally accessible vocational education system. With the challenges and changes faced by the infrastructure industry, we all need to ensure people are put first, change is managed respectfully, and we take the opportunities to increase wellbeing and grow our people.”
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About Connexis: Connexis is a not-for-profit organisation, passionate about building and upskilling New Zealand’s Infrastructure workforce. Appointed by Government as the standard-setting body for the Infrastructure Industries, Connexis offers nationally recognised tertiary qualifications for the Civil, Energy, Telecommunications and Water industries.