Tertiary and trades training package welcome

Issue: Volume 99, Number 9

Posted: 11 June 2020
Reference #: 1HA8DZ

The injection of funding into the tertiary and trades sectors is expected to help ease the recovery from Covid-19.

Budget 2020 includes free trades training in critical industries.

Budget 2020 includes free trades training in critical industries.

Tertiary education and training providers are set to benefit from investment into a range of initiatives outlined in Budget 2020.

Providers will see a 1.6 per cent increase to tertiary education tuition and training subsidies to help them meet cost pressures. Funding for additional tertiary enrolments will also help providers increase student numbers at a time when the Government is keen to see training opportunities maximised as the country recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we emerge from this health crisis it is important that we now invest in training and education for people who might have lost their jobs, or who want to move into a different sector where prospects are better,” says Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins.

Support for trades and apprenticeship training

Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) chief executive, Warwick Quinn was pleased to see trades and apprenticeships training feature in the Budget 2020 announcements.

“This is the first significant economic shock that I can recall where the Government recognises the importance of continuing to invest in trades training and apprenticeships even though work is expected to shrink.”

While the building and construction sector is looking healthy at the moment, as projects are resumed following lockdown, Warwick says a slump is inevitable.

“We know that when the market recovers we are always desperately short of skills and we struggle to respond. And when we recover this time, we may not have access to migrant workers like we have in the past – which has often been our safety valve as we don’t continue to grow our own,” says Warwick.

He says there is typically a significant lag to feed the sector. Often it takes around 12 to 18 months until a firm feels confident they can take on an apprentice following a recovery, and then three or four years until the apprentice completes their training and comes out the other side of their apprenticeship.

The $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package will go a considerable way to help ease these pressures. The package includes targeted investment support for free trades training in critical industries; support for employers to retain and keep training their apprentices; investment for a Māori Apprenticeships Fund; and funding for group training schemes to retain apprentices.

Supporting rangatahi

Employment Minister Willie Jackson says the Māori Apprenticeships Fund will help provide tailored support for Māori employers to take on Māori apprentices.

“Māori community groups will partner with the Crown to establish and design group training schemes that employ Māori as apprentices and support the placement of apprentices across a range of workplaces.”

The Budget also funds the expansion of He Poutama Rangatahi, a programme to support young Māori who are most at risk of long-term unemployment and who are not in education, employment or training.

Helping people retrain

Chris Hipkins says making targeted vocational training courses free – for all ages, not just school leavers – over the next two years will help people who have lost their jobs retrain and also allow new employees in some essential services to train on the job.

“It will include courses linked to industry skills needs, in building and construction, agriculture, and manufacturing, and also vocational courses like community health, counselling and care work.”

Nigel Udy, head of the School of Primary Industries at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), says the funding will help them support people who may have been displaced from their work to retrain in industries like agriculture or horticulture.

“The agriculture and horticulture industries have both identified that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity where there are some very competent people with excellent personal and work skills who may be reviewing whether the industry that they have been employed in is now the right industry to continue their engagement because they’ve lost their job or due to the volatility of that industry.

“Both these industries to some degree have been quite dependent on migrant workers so here’s an opportunity to say not only do we need people but there are actually people who have a whole bunch of really good skills that could be transferable skills to our industry,” says Nigel.

Workforce Development Councils

Budget 2020 also funds the establishment of Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) to strategically plan for the recovery of industries and jobs from the impact of Covid-19. 

Tertiary Education Commission’s Jane Duncan, who has been leading the WDC project, says that Covid-19 has highlighted the need for a unified and sustainable system to provide support for all stakeholders: learners, employers, providers and industry.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 1:30 pm, 11 June 2020

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