July 28, 2005
Training policy a boost for workers
Labour’s pledge to train 5000 more modern apprentices and to widen the scheme to older workers and to young people who are still in school is a major boost to working people and to the country, says the New Zealand’s largest union, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
“The Modern Apprenticeship scheme, advocated by the EPMU, has been one of the success stories of the Labour Government,” said assistant national secretary Rosalie Webster.
“We are delighted to see it being expanded to take more people, older people already in the workforce, and a transition programme for young people still at school.”
Ms Webster, who is on the board of the Industry Training Federation, said that there was clear evidence that up-skilling the New Zealand workforce was the key to the country’s future prosperity.
“New Zealand workers are talented and dedicated, but the virtual scrapping of industry training under National during the 1990s denied many the opportunity to learn the skills that will help them to improve their lives and will help their employers and the country to improve productivity and innovation,” she said.
“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that a Labour Government will boost industry training by another $30 million, will train an extra 5000 Modern Apprentices – including many who are older people already in the workforce – and will develop a transition programme to help young people from school into apprenticeships, is great news.”
Ms Webster said that the current Labour Government had already doubled the amount of money spent on industry training, and that the EPMU would continue to lobby for industry training.
“The fact that Labour has made it one of its pledge-card policies is a good sign that it understands the importance of this issue,” she said.