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Business Council Welcomes Skills Package

28 September 2004

Business Council Welcomes Skills Package

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (the Business Council) welcomes the Skills Package launched today by the Government.

Peter Neilson, Chief Executive, believes the increase in the number of funded places
in Modern Apprenticeships combined with the increase in funded industry training places and post-placement training will help address the skills shortage faced by businesses. “Unemployment for 15-25 year olds is significantly higher than the national average rate of 4%. Skills shortages are limiting the capacity of one-in-five New Zealand businesses while one-in-ten young people are out of work or training. Businesses are missing out on the tremendous energy, skills and perspective that young people can offer but training is absolutely vital and 1000 extra apprenticeships will help bridge this skills gap.”

Business Council members have over the last two years partnered with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs drawing together business, local government, central government and the community to identify ways to address youth employment and at the same time enhance their own performance.

A recent survey conducted by the Business Council of its members found that 44% of those reporting have implemented or planned initiatives to encourage youth employment and 28% have identified human resources as one of the principal issues affecting their business.

42% respondents have less than 10% of their workforce younger than 25 years old whilst 4% have over 50% of their workforce in this age category.

The Business Council’s representative on the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, Richard Lauder, Managing Director, City Care believes today’s increase in funding for apprenticeships and workplace training will help many more young people into employment:

“City Care operates in industry sectors that are not regarded as attractive for school leavers and our industry has generally neglected training new staff. As a result, many of our trades qualified staff are reaching the end of their working lives and we do not have enough younger staff in training to replace these skilled workers.

We started our pre-apprenticeship work skills programme as part of an initiative launched by the Business Council and it has been an elegant solution to address these problems. The programme has been very successful for us and young people and businesses alike will only benefit from the Government’s increased funding this area. We welcome this announcement”

ENDS


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