'Manned up and asked for a job' - teen lands building apprenticeship after girlfriend says 'go, go go'

An 18-year-old who landed a building apprenticeship after he "manned up", walked onto an Auckland construction site and asked for a job has today become the human face of solving the country's construction skills shortage.

New Zealand needs 30,000 construction workers to build more houses and John Tautari has become one of them, egged on, he says, by his girlfriend.

John spoke to 1 NEWS today at work on a Housing New Zealand construction site in Auckland's Otara, where a government minister unveiled the Beehive's Construction Skills Action plan.

John said he used to work up north and relocated with his partner to Auckland because there weren't many jobs up there.

"And then I just walked on site and asked for a job. Yeah, it worked, yeah lucky," he said, smiling.

With no building experience, he had his "little doubts' it would work, "but lucky my partner was there to 'go, go, go.' So yeah I walked on, manned up, and asked for a job, and then got lucky and got a good boss and good company. So that's good."

He enjoys it too.

"Yeah, I love it. It's my passion.

"I had no experience. First time on my site was when I walked on. So yeah I had nothing, no experience at all."

A typical day involves multiple jobs such as framing and cladding.

John sees a bright future for himself in the industry.

"I got a solid career with my company. They really support me thanks to them...I can look forward for my tickets. So it's something permanent underneath my belt, so that'll help with my future."

With the industry needing 30,000 more builders, John has some advice for other people looking for a job and needing an opportunity like he's got.

"I reckon just go on a site and ask for a job. And it's either 'yes' or 'no' answer. And there's heaps, plenty of sites around, so it'll be definitely a 'yes somewhere'.

"Worth it at the end of the day."

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John Tautari, 18, moved from Northland to Auckland to look for a job and is now helping ease the construction skills shortage. Source: 1 NEWS