Budget 2014 employment announcements

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Prime Minister John Key has announced that an extra $20 million will be provided in this year’s budget to expand the Government’s apprentice subsidy scheme and $3.5 million for grants to lure unemployed people to jobs in Canterbury.

Key made the announcements in a pre-budget speech in Wellington yesterday.

The subsidy for apprenticeships amounts to $1,000 for eligible apprentices or trainees toward the cost of tools or off-job course costs, or $2,000 for those in priority trades. The additional spending will increase the number of places on the government’s Apprenticeship Reboot scheme, announced last year, from 14,000 to 20,000.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said the move was in response to high demand for the scheme.

“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,” Joyce said. “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.”

ManufacturingNZ welcomed the additional funding, with Executive Director Catherine Beard stating it will help get the skills needed for the Christchurch rebuild and enable more firms to grow their own talent.

The grants for beneficiaries to take a job in Canterbury will be a lump-sum of $3,000, tax free and not subject to any income and asset test. To be eligible, beneficiaries must show proof of a confirmed job offer of at least 30 hours a week and for at least 91 days. If the recipient goes back on benefit within three months of the payment without a sufficient reason, then the payment must be repaid.

This offer will be open to beneficiaries of all ages, but a particular focus will be placed on people aged 18-24 years.

Key said the $3.5 million initiative, which would run for 12 months from July 1 would be enough to fund up to 1,000 beneficiaries.

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