Sunday, June 16, 2024

Female apprentice numbers double

The number of New Zealanders taking up apprenticeships has increased nearly 50%, and the number of female apprentices has more than doubled, the Prime Minister has announced.

The new figures have been revealed as a Government campaign to raise the profile of vocational education and training (VET) begins. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins launched the campaign at Mulcahy Engineering and Fabrication this afternoon.  

“The first phase of the VET marketing campaign includes social media influencer activity targeted at school leavers and learners under the age of 25, and radio announcer adlibs aimed at starting meaningful conversations about vocational education and training in the community,” Mr Hipkins said. 

“The second phase of the campaign, set to begin next month, will include TV, radio and social media ads, digital displays and online videos. 

“Vocational education and training plays a key role in New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19. We know that many New Zealanders will be looking to retrain, and employers in key sectors will need more skilled people.”

The marketing campaign will be supported by a range of initiatives put in place by the Government earlier this year to get more people into training and apprenticeships. 

“We launched a $320 million free Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) which makes all apprenticeships, as well as, certificates, diplomas and programmes in targeted industries, free for New Zealanders of all ages from 1 July 2020. This is targeted towards industries where demand will continue to be strong as we recover from COVID-19,” said Mr Hipkins.

“Since we made all apprenticeships free in July this year, close to 14,000 new apprentices have started an apprenticeship nationwide, up from about 7,500 in the same period in 2019.  Since July, more than 17,000 learners have also begun TTAF programmes in industries critical to our economic recovery. That’s compared with 12,800 learners enrolled in in the same window in 2019. 

“In addition, the Government also launched the $380 million Apprenticeship Boost fund which supports employers to retain and take on new apprentices, to help ensure New Zealand has a pipeline of skilled workers, and to avoid shortages in the future.

“These are extremely encouraging signs given the historical perception of vocational careers.  Based on these numbers and research* by the Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealanders’ views on vocational education and training are shifting.  

“This is important because we know employers in key industries will need more skilled people. That’s why we have targeted our free trades training towards industries where demand is expected to grow.”

The Minister said the number of female apprentices who had started an apprenticeship had more than doubled — increasing to 1,785 from 845 for the same period last year.

“It’s a welcome development to see more women going into these traditionally male-dominated industries. But I acknowledge that there’s still a long way to go,” Mr Hipkins said.

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