The Government is extending support for trades training programmes to help accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery.
“Our economy is one of the strongest in the world, with record low unemployment of 3.2 percent and economic activity up on what it was pre COVID-19, and that’s in large part because of the investments the Government has made in training and supporting New Zealanders into work,” said Education Minister, Chris Hipkins.
“A locally trained workforce provides for greater economic security. It delivers a highly skilled workforce to build infrastructure, or design the technology needed to future-proof the economy while ensuring good jobs for New Zealanders.
“Over the past two years, over 190,000 people have benefitted from government investment in trades training, including apprenticeships. There has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of apprentices since the start of the pandemic.
“A key message we hear from business is they need more skilled workers. Unlike National after the Global Financial Crisis we have continued to invest in and train the New Zealanders who build our houses and upgrade our infrastructure because we know they are vital to our success and our recovery.”
He said a $230 million investment as part of Budget 2022 will provide another 24,000 apprentices with Apprenticeship Boost support and maintain support for around 14,000 beyond August.
There are already 17,000 employers involved in the programme and today’s investment means new employers can join up.
“In recognition of the significant growth in apprentices since 2020 and the employment strength in the New Zealand economy, and to extend the initiative at reasonable cost, the first-year subsidy rate will lower to $500 per month from 5 August 2022. The second-year subsidy rate will remain at $500 per month until the initiative ends in December 2023.”
“I want to congratulate the record numbers of people starting apprenticeships and employers for taking apprentices on and making sure they are learning while working. It is testament to all of you that the programme has been so successful,” Mr Hipkins said.
Included in today’s announcement was more support for Mana in Mahi and Māori Trades Training.
“Mana in Mahi has been an incredibly successful programme supporting over 4,719 young Kiwis into work and training. Budget 2022 will see funding for 1,600 places on the scheme over the next two years so that it can continue to train people for available employment opportunities,” said Social Development and Employment Minister, Carmel Sepuloni.
“Funding is also being extended for Māori Trades Training. The Ministry of Social Development has established partnerships with 17 Māori entities across Aotearoa and they are delivering unique multi-year work-focused training. The training programme is beginning to bear fruit and today’s announcement provides certainty to our providers and the rangitahi who are benefiting from the scheme.
“New Zealand is seeing a huge boom in construction and building and we have plenty of people willing and ready to take up the opportunities it provides. However, many lack the foundational skills to realise their potential.
“Today’s announcement will go a long way to bridging this skills gap and providing work-ready employees for New Zealand businesses,” she said.