Industry training got a boost today as the Government announced an additional $7 million investment over the next four years.
The Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith and Associate Minister Louise Upston made the announcement this morning at the Industry Training Federation (ITF) Workforce Development Summit in Wellington.
Goldsmith acknowledged the need for more skilled workers in New Zealand. He said there was an increase in demand for skills as employment opportunities increase, particularly in key sectors like construction.
“Industry trainees and apprenticeships are in high demand and supporting work-based training is a priority for this government. We are directly supporting employers to invest in recruiting and up-skilling their employees to meet the future demands of their business.”
He asked for the support of families, education and industry.
“The Government is willing to put the resources in, but we also need the support of parents, teachers, careers advisors, and businesses if we are to get more young Kiwis into the trades.”
The extra funding is in addition to the new funding for industry training of $14.4m over four years in Budget 2016 and will support over 2,000 apprenticeships over the next four years.
Over 43,000 people are already in apprenticeships and apprentice-like training. The Government’s target is 50,000 apprentices by 2020.
Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the number of learners enrolled in industry training is getting close to the number enrolled in universities. Qualification completion rates are higher than they have ever been, she says.
ITF chief executive Josh Williams says today’s funding boost is welcome and much needed.
“148,000 industry trainees and apprentices are in jobs, furthering their careers, earning and learning, gaining qualifications, paying tax, and not racking up student loans,” says Williams.
“We need more people, young and old, to see work-based learning as a valid pathway, at a time when industries are crying out for skills.
“Recognising the economic and social contribution of our current 148,000 industry trainees and apprentices, is a good start.”