Minister of Education: Trades training package another step in the recovery

Opinion 09/06/2020

This op-ed piece is written by Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins.

OPINION: The free trades and apprentices training package we released this week is another big step towards getting New Zealand moving again.

We announced we will pay the costs of learners of all ages to undertake vocational education and training in areas with better employment prospects, as New Zealand rebuilds from COVID-19.

Apprentices working in all industries and learners training or wanting to retrain for jobs in a range of key sectors right across New Zealand will have costs paid until the end of 2022. In many cases they will save between $2500 and $6500 per year.

We’ve had a fantastic response already and will have more to announce soon, including details on a subsidy for employers with apprentices.

It’s the latest in long list of actions this government has taken to up the ante on promoting and supporting the trades as great jobs and careers, and making the training system easier to engage with and fit around people’s lives. New Zealand needs a lot more skilled people to match the huge investment we’re making in housing and infrastructure and the strong demand we’re seeing in growth industries and community support areas.

It’s important to emphasise this package is designed not just for school leavers but for people in a range of circumstances and stages of their lives.

We’re moving at pace. Starting on 1 July, and for the rest of 2020, we’ve initially targeted vocational programmes in the following areas:

  • Primary industries, including agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, fisheries (including aquaculture) and forestry;
  • Construction, including building, plumbing, and civil engineering;
  • Community support, including youth work, care for elderly, counselling and community health, including mental health and addiction support;
  • Manufacturing and mechanical engineering and technology;
  • Electrical engineering; and
  • Road transport (eg heavy vehicle operator).

We’ll continue to refine these areas to provide new opportunities for Kiwis all ages and support industry and the community with the skills that will support the country’s recovery.

Chris Hipkins in the Minister of Education.