The Boating Industry Training Organisation (BITO) now has more than 700 apprentices working in the marine trades in New Zealand. BITO is considered the training arm of the marine industry.

“We currently have 707 trainees working towards their National Certificates in either boatbuilding or one of the other related marine trades,” said BITO general manager, Chris van der Hor, in a statement. That number is up 12 per cent compared to last year.

Van der Hor said that the course, which includes on-the-job training and classroom work, takes an average of three to five years to complete.

The program is funded by BITO and New Zealand’s marine industry. “Our industry aims to double in size by 2020,” said van der Hor. “It is great to see that, despite the tough times many of these companies are currently experiencing, they are still focusing on training for the future.”

The number of apprentices enrolled in BITO training has increased 40 per cent in the last three years.