Government announces apprenticeship grants

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 12:26 25/01/2013
construction
FAIRFAX NZ

NO MORE WAITING AROUND: Those entering "priority construction trades" will be eligible for a $2000 grant.

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Ten thousand apprentices - of any age - will be given up to $2000 towards tools and course costs, as the Government kick starts moves to streamline apprenticeships and boost numbers in training.

Speaking in his state of the nation speech at the North Harbour Stadium in Albany, Prime Minister John Key said the current Modern Apprenticeships scheme, available only to 16-21 year olds, along with other schemes, will be combined under a single programme, New Zealand Apprentices.

He estimated the new programme, which will include a special payment for those who apply this year, would increase the number of apprentices by 14,000 over the next five years, compared to previous forecasts.

‘‘These new apprenticeships will provide the same level of support, and the same level of subsidy, for all apprentices, regardless of age.’’

Key’s speech said the overall level of subsidy funding would be increased by $12 million a year, rising over time as the number of apprentices increases.

The speech did not make it clear whether those currently on the Modern Apprentices scheme, would be worse off under the new scheme, with the funding spread more widely with the $12m top-up.

In a bid to increase the profile of apprenticeships, the first 10,000 applicants who enrol after April 1 will be given $1000 towards tools and off-job course costs, or $2000 if they are in ‘‘priority construction trades’’.

The scheme will be known as ‘‘re-boot’’.

More than 30 apprenticeship schemes, covering construction, infrastructure, engineering and electro-technology will be eligible for the higher subsidy under re-boot.

Industry training organisations will be given clearer performance expectations, while the educational content of apprenticeships will be boosted, Key said this afternoon.

‘‘As a result of these changes, and stimulated by the boom in construction and other trades that is already underway in Christchurch, we estimate that around 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast.’’

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- The Dominion Post

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