Govt announces boost for Maori and Pasifika trades training

By Kate Shuttleworth

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Government will increase the number of trades training places for Maori and Pasifika trades from 600 to 3,000 places, spending $43 million over four years.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce, and Associate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Tariana Turia announced programmes from 2009 - the He Toki ki te Rika and Pasifika trades schemes - would be expanded.

The programmes run in through Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and polytechs nationwide.

None of the $43 million to be spent over four years on the additional trades training places would be new money - $35 million would be taken from the Industry Training Fund and $8 million from Vote employment.

Prime Minister John Key signalled the changes in a speech at North Harbour Club in Auckland in January.

The Government's target was for 14,000 new apprentices to start training over the next five years, in addition to teh 7000 who now enrol each year.

He orignally said the funding would come from money saved by tightening up the industry training system to remove thousands of "phantom trainees" he said were signed up under the Labour Government and were not earning credits.

Mr Joyce said educational achievement was the most important way to achieve the Government's goals of raising living standards through a more productive economy.

"This is a unique opportunity to leverage the need for trades training around the country to boost the skills and earning levels of many young Maori and Pasifika."

Mr Joyce said there was an urgent need to enhance skills for young Maori and Pacific learners.

"There is a big opportunity over the next few years - particularly with the rebuilding of Christchurch - for anyone interested in trades careers to train and take up New Zealand apprenticeship places.

"Making better links into a trades career is better for Maori and Pasifika people and will be of great benefit to their families and the economy," said Mr Joyce."

From January 2014 the Government will:

* Combine modern apprenticeships and other apprenticeship-type training under an expanded and improved scheme called New Zealand Apprenticeships.

* The new apprenticeships will provide the same level of support, and the same level of subsidy, for all apprentices, regardless of their age.

* Overall subsidy payments will be increased by around $12 million in the first year, rising over time. Increased funding for apprenticeships will allow industry training organisations to invest in the quality of education for apprentices, lower fees for employers and encourage growth in the uptake of apprenticeships.

* Boost the educational content of apprenticeships. At a minimum they will require a programme of at least 120 credits that results in a level four qualification.

* Set clearer roles and performance expectations for ITOs, and give employers other options if their ITOs don't perform.

* Lift the profile of, and participation in, apprenticeships.

* The Government will give the first 10,000 new apprentices who enrol after 6 March this year $1,000 towards their tools and off-job course costs, or $2,000 if they are in priority construction trades. The same amount will also be paid to their employers.

- APNZ

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