Businesses should get money for training, minister told

Minister of Small Business Jacquie Dean, left, and National Party candidate Adrienne Pierce are shown around the shop ...
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Minister of Small Business Jacquie Dean, left, and National Party candidate Adrienne Pierce are shown around the shop floor by Pelco owner Bruce Woodfield.

Small businesses should get Government money when they train young staff up to a standard where they get a qualification, the minister for small business has been told. 

​Palmerston North Spectra and Silver Scissors Hair Salon owner Gabrielle Bundy-Cooke was concerned too many small employers couldn't afford to bring on trainees, which led to skill shortages across entire industries.

Training institutes and trade schools got $10,000 per student from the Government to cover costs, but employers bore the full cost, she said.

Bundy-Cooke made the point when Minister of Small Business Jacqui Dean visited Palmerston North on Wednesday.

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Bundy-Cooke saw little reason that employers who gave young people similar training shouldn't get a similar subsidy. She suggested it would only be paid out once the young person was fully trained, and had been accredited through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Dean toured several of the city's businesses, including ladder manufacturer Pelco, before holding a question and answer session at a Manawatu Chamber of Commerce event at Hotel Coachman.

Dean said while there was no direct financial support for employers, they benefited indirectly from the money put into national schemes to get youth into work or training.

Bundy-Cooke said employers used to get a weekly subsidy to take on extra young people and train them up, but that ended five years ago.

Under that programme, Spectra had 23 staff, mainly trainees, compared  with its current nine.

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"I'd love to have more trainees, but I can't afford to bring them on."

After apprenticeships and training subsidies dried up, many small employers couldn't afford to train as many people, which led to skill shortages, she said.

"[Now] the country is in dire straits in terms of senior hairdressers, and it's the same story in construction and the trades."

 - Stuff

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