The Government re-boots industry training

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The Government expects the merging of all apprenticeships into a single, nationwide scheme and other changes to encourage an additional 14,000 apprentices on top of the 7,000 who enrol each year. “There is a big opportunity over the next few years – particularly with the rebuilding of Christchurch – to train more New Zealanders in vocational careers that will set them up well for their working lives,” Steven Joyce, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, said.

The nationwide scheme entails various new initiatives:

 

  • Modern Apprenticeships and other apprenticeship-type training will be combined into a single scheme entitled ‘New Zealand Apprenticeships’ from 1 January 2014.
  • All apprentices in this new scheme, however young or old, will receive the same subsidy.
  • Funding for the scheme will be boosted by $12million in its first year – an increase of approximately 20%. The current ‘top-up’ for Modern Apprentices will be redistributed across all apprentices as an extension to their learning subsidy.
  • The educational requirement will increase so that an apprenticeship must comprise a Tertiary Education Commission-approved programme of study of at least 120 credits, resulting in a level four qualification.
  • Industry training organisations will be more closely monitored by NZQA.
  • The first 10,000 apprentices to enrol after 1 April 2013 (and their employers) will receive $1,000 towards their tolls and off-job course costs (or $2,000 if in a priority construction trade).
  • Employers will have the opportunity to access industry training funding directly from 1 January 2014, to increase competition.

There is a long list of trades eligible for the higher re-boot subsidy, including those within the construction, infrastructure, engineering, and electro-technology sectors. “We expect the changes to the apprenticeship system will drive a higher level of qualification completions in industry training so more workers, especially young people, are equipped with transferable and practical skills throughout their working lives,” Joyce said.

Phil O’Reilly, chief executive – BusinessNZ, has come out in favour of the changes. “Past problems in the system that resulted in waste and large numbers of ‘phantom trainees’ have been robustly addressed by recent work in this area and by the changes announced today,” he said.

However, Peter Conway, secretary – Council of Trade Unions, called the changes a ‘drop in the bucket’. “[W]e have 400,000 people out of work or looking for more work, this is a national crisis and 14,000 apprenticeships over five years is not enough,” he said.

 

 

  • Mary-Ann de Kort on 20/02/2013 1:27:11 p.m.

    Thank goodness our government has seen the light and will be putting back some of the $26M they removed from the apprenticeship schemes.

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