$42m earmarked for Canterbury trades training

A trades training package is designed to meet the demand for builders and tradespeople in Christchurch over the next two to four years. Photo / Geoff Sloan
A trades training package is designed to meet the demand for builders and tradespeople in Christchurch over the next two to four years. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Next week's budget will provide up to $42 million for trades training for Canterbury, Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says.

Mr Joyce said today funding was being set aside for up to 1500 additional training places as part of a comprehensive response to meet additional demand for labour for the earthquake reconstruction programme.

He said the Government expected the peak of the building demand to come within two to four years, so training the right people at the right time would help.

"The construction trades are going to be very important over the next several years," Mr Joyce said.

"It is important that people who are interested in learning a trade, brushing up their skills, returning to complete trades qualifications, or taking up supervisory roles, look at the options that are available."

Mr Joyce said polytechnics and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) had places available now.

"I would encourage people who are interested in being involved with the rebuild of Christchurch to make contact with their local provider."

Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the budget's focus on skills to rebuild Christchurch was well placed.

"Dedicated funding for construction training sends the message that skills are a critical part of the rebuild," he said.

"And being able to import high-skilled workers where New Zealanders can't be training in time is sensible, although we probably need the leeway to import semi-skilled people also given the critical scarcity of skills at all levels in the construction sector."

The Skills for Canterbury package includes:

* Up to 3000 more construction-related training places in polytechs in Canterbury and around the country, paid for from existing funding;

* $42 million for additional places at polytechs, private providers and ITOs if required;

* Accelerated training programmes to complete training more quickly and allow transition to work during training;

* $1.5 million from Work and Income to subsidise 650 people into training and work by the end of June; and

* A special immigration skill shortage list from the Department of Labnour to allow employers to import high-skilled workers in areas where New Zealanders can't be trained in time.

- NZPA

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