Thursday, 04 November 2021 07:55

Training at the touch of a phone

Written by  Staff Reporters
RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen. RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen.

An app developed to support rural contracting trainees is key to a new initiative that has gained government funding.

Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) has agreed to help fund the initiative - alongside $140,000 support from MPI - to train and mentor young people working with contractors around the country.

The recently launched HanzonJob app will provide training to rural contractors and help them to mentor their staff. Support will also be provided for 200 new industry trainees to access the app to record and document their work experience.

RCNZ chief executive Andrew Olsen says there's a critical shortage of skilled machinery operators in NZ due to Covid-19, and HanzonJobs provides a very real solution.

"Supporting rural contractors with mentoring training will help to boost their and their team's capability," he says.

"The app will also enable their staff to keep an accurate record of their work and experience and help to identify any areas of development."

HanzonJobs is owned by former Golden Bay rural contractor and labour recruiter Richard Houston. He developed the app after Covid-19 hit and labour shortages intensified.

The app provides a web-based platform that allows trainees to easily log all the activities they've been involved in during a working day. Over the course of a season, the trainee will build a detailed record of their learning and experience across various jobs involving differing terrain, conditions and machinery types.

RCNZ board member Daryl Thompson trialled the HanzonJobs app with four trainees last year and says it brings a range of benefits.

"The information captured by the app is critical for developing and monitoring my own workforce," he explains.

"We can demonstrate that as an industry we are supporting training, and it can help show areas where we'll need staff next season."

Thompson says another bonus of the app is that it provides a record of learning, which insurers seek when it comes to machinery damage claims.

Olsen says most contractors say the best training is on-the-job and the app is a perfect way to capture this.

Houston says rural contractors and their trainees have found the app useful.

"Employers can see what a potential recruit has actually learned to do, rather than relying on say-so," he says.

"A survey from last season showed more than 80% of trainees enjoyed the season - and planned to return this season."

He claims the app played a big part in this satisfaction.

"We're planning to align the records in the app with associated unit standards, to further the ability of the platform to contribute towards qualifications."

MPI's Cheyne Gillooly says the ministry is proud to be supporting this initiative.

"Providing mentoring for rural contractors will help them to train and retain their staff, while providing access to the HanzonJobs app makes it simpler to recall and present an employee's experience."

Olsen says RCNZ's aim is to recruit about 200 trainees and their mentors from Northland to Southland to support the initiative.

"This initiative really hits home the power of working together and what's possible."

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