Boost to apprenticeships

A generation ago thousands of people left school and took up apprenticeships.

In the intervening years changes to the system led to a drop in numbers of apprentices which has led to a shortage of skilled trades people.

A pre-Budget announcement provides a welcome boost to help solve that problem:

Continuing high demand for the Apprenticeship Reboot means the Government has decided to spend up to $20 million in Budget 2014 for an extra 6,000 places as part of its Business Growth Agenda, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

The Apprenticeship Reboot was announced in January 2013 by Prime Minister John Key alongside an overhaul of the apprenticeship scheme to get more apprentices qualified, especially in construction trades.

Eligible apprentices or trainees who sign up for training have been able to apply for a subsidy of $1,000 towards the cost of tools and off-job course costs, or $2,000 for those in priority trades. Employers are also eligible for an equal payment.

“The Government extended the available places from 10,000 to 14,000 in December last year to keep up with demand,” Mr Joyce says.

”We’re now committing additional funding in Budget 2014 of up to $20 million for 6,000 more places. That brings total funding for the scheme to $69.4 million and the total number of places to 20,000.

“The Apprenticeship Reboot is proving very successful in getting more apprentices underway, especially in the priority trades we need for the rebuilding of Christchurch and the housing construction boom in Auckland. It is giving more Kiwis vital vocational skills that will set them up for their working lives, while meeting the needs of the growing economy.

“When we introduced the Reboot and New Zealand Apprenticeships, we anticipated that a total of 14,000 new apprentices would start training over the following five years, over and above the 7,000 who would normally enrol. However, demand for places continues to outpace this forecast.

“The Government’s ongoing investment in the Apprenticeship Reboot will benefit Christchurch, the wider economy, and thousands of New Zealanders whose training will lead to higher wages and better living standards for them and their families.”

More training opportunities will contribute to higher wages and better living standards: http://bit.ly/1ikno5l

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