23 MARCH 2023
Well-renowned South Island company DBC Building Services are the envy of many of its competitors. With 260 staff across sites in Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, and Invercargill, DBC is a force in the industry and an employer of choice. DBC provide specialist services across Design and build solutions, heating and ventilation, plumbing and drainage, sheet metal fabrication, medical gases, pool water services, and maintenance to many commercial and domestic businesses.
A people-centric approach has been the key to success, particularly in their Dunedin branch, where DBC are teaming up with ATNZ to great effect. Manager Dónn Casey quickly points out the success that a sustained focus on developing people through apprenticeships has provided the business. Since taking the helm eight years ago, Dónn has consistently sought to grow a highly skilled professional team by prioritising vocational learning.
When asked why the importance of training and apprenticeships, Dónn explains that they are central to securing his future labour force given the shortage of people in the industry and fears that without them, much of the knowledge held by older tradespeople will die as they retire. Sixteen apprentices receive the highest quality apprenticeships working alongside the hundred-strong staff at DBC in Dunedin. Some of these are in plumbing, although the soon-to-be eight engineering apprentices are employed and managed by ATNZ.
When asked why he partners with ATNZ for his engineering apprentices, Dónn says there is a straightforward answer “To give them the apprenticeship they deserve.” He explains how hosting ATNZ apprentices provide a better outcome for the apprentices and lets him focus on the performance of the business. He said, “I find it better that the Account Manager looks after the apprentices. It helps them focus on the academic side, keeps things on track and gives them the best possible apprenticeship. The ATNZ Account Manager’s reports let us know what we need to do and whether we are giving them exposure to everything they need to learn. This way, the apprentices can raise any concerns we don’t have time to fix.”
The further commitment of DBC to wanting the best outcome for their learners is evident in the breadth of exposure they offer their apprentices. DBC provide their engineering apprentices six months in each of the various parts of their business, including refrigeration, ducting, fabrication, heavy pipe, and steam.
ATNZ Regional Lead Ben Julian explains the importance of DBC’s approach as a company hosting an apprentice, saying, “The importance of the host’s commitment in this triangular relationship is vital. Providing the environment for learning in partnership with ATNZ allows us to expose the apprentice to many different challenges and learning opportunities. It creates a climate where the apprentice gets the best results. The host company can focus on their business, the apprentice on upskilling and ATNZ on the delivery. This support network provides a framework to develop a well-rounded apprentice and tradesperson of the future.”
This breadth of learning means that in partnership with ATNZ, an apprenticeship hosted at DBC Building Services provides a fantastic grounding for a career in the industry and sets DBC up with a workforce for DBC to thrive in the years ahead.