The Government has announced an extra up to 4000 places for trades training programmes to get more young people into careers such as plumbing and building.

That's made up of funding for an extra 2000 places in the Trades Academy programme and up to 2000 more places in the Gateway scheme.

The 2000 extra Trades Academy places represent a 27 per cent increase in the number of spots on offer in the programme. The increase will cost the Government $27 million.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this morning the new places would help close the on-going skills gap in our country.


"We want more people to see careers in areas like building, plumbing and agriculture as an attractive and first-option when they leave school."

Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement at Heretaunga College in Wellington's Upper Hutt today.

Ardern said the Government wanted to reverse what she called the "long-term decline" in trades training.

Trades skills shortages was a key issue business regularly raise with me and this programme is one step in the Government's plan to plug that gap.

According to the Prime Minister, today's announcement marks the first increase in the numbers of Gateway places since the last time Labour was in government.

The Gateway programme lets secondary school students undertake work-based learning towards vocational careers at school, while the Trades Academies programme is for high school students who want to take on full-time tertiary and/or work based learning.

Ardern said both the programmes had been successful, but had lacked funding for years.

Hipkins said schools were, and will continue to be, a crucial part of vocational education.


"We want schools better linked to the world of work, and for students in school to have clearer and more direct pathways into vocational education in the workplace and the tertiary system."

An evaluation of Gateway in the early 2000s showed that more than 70 per cent of employers reported several benefits from their involvement with Gateway and 81 per cent of students reported that their involvement with Gateway helped with their future plans.