In 2016, there were more than 148,600 trainees registered in some form of apprenticeship or ‘earn as you learn’ scheme, across more than 140 trades and services. At the same time there were just over 146,000 students enrolled at New Zealand’s universities.
New Zealand is crying out for more on-the-job trainees, and will continue to need more in the future, says ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams, dues to existing and projected skills shortages in many sectors.
“For example, it’s things like 30,000 people qualified in construction [that will be needed] by 2021; 16,000 support workers in sectors like aged care support required by 2021; 13,000 horticulturalists – gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, viticulturalists – will be needed. There are big numbers in terms of employment growth in these sectors.
“Employers in most of these sectors offer ‘earn-as-you-learn’ schemes, and really that’s what this campaign is about: showcasing for 16 and 17 year olds the range of pathways that they can take after school.”
Josh told Education Central that not enough young people in New Zealand are aware of their options, and that there is too much emphasis on preparing school leavers for the university pathway.
“There are some schools that are doing really cool things, particularly around Vocational Pathways, trades academies and gateway programmes, but we think that most of the time kids are being told to go to university, and largely high school is set up around preparing and practicing for university.
“Yet when you reflect on the statistic that only three out of ten school leavers actually enroll in degrees, and so we do think there is a real need to clarify and broaden some of the other pathways out of school. These are really exciting jobs and careers, where you can find your passion.
“There’s the sense too that trades are for dummies. So the other thing our campaign is trying to do is really show what the 2017 reality is in these industries, where there are lots of roles that need the best and brightest.”
During the week of ‘Got a trade? Got it made!’, fifty outstanding trainees will aim to inspire young people at the Got A Trade Future Leaders Forum, and will be showcased at the 2017 Industry Training Awards, hosted at Parliament by Industry Training Minister Hon Louise Upston.
Find out more about Got a Trade! Week: www.gotatrade.co.nz