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Good start, but more work required for work-based learners

Tuesday 5 December 2017


Good start, but more work required for work-based learners.

The Industry Training Federation (ITF) welcomes today's details on fees-free tertiary education eligibility, but is disappointed by restrictions that suggest few trainees and apprentices will still be eligible for support by the time they become a trainee or apprentice.

"The government saves enormously every time it invests in an industry trainee." ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams says. "Fees are lower, subsidies are much lower, the skills are matched to industry needs, and the students are economically active, paying tax rather than drawing on student support."

The ITF is pleased by the entitlements that would apply to trainees and apprentices, particularly that the fee support would cover both employer and trainee fees for the first two years of a traineeship or apprenticeship. However, over half of new trainees are already tertiary qualified, and the government estimates that only 6,000 of the 80,000 fees-free eligible students will be industry-based learners.

"We commend the government for looking to reduce the costs of post-school study and training to learners, and the government and officials have done a good job at short notice. However, as it stands this policy will further skew the tertiary education system towards pre-employment training in institutions.

"New Zealand needs a skills strategy that sets people up multiple careers, technology change, and working longer. We note the Minister's comments that this is an interim solution for industry training and that he is passionate about life-long learning. We look forward to working with him on achieving a more cost-effective and sustainable skills solution which delivers more of our post-school education to working New Zealanders." Mr Williams says.

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