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Skills training boost vital for future development

Monday, 29 May 2006

Skills training boost vital for the country’s future development, says MIT director of Technology

Manukau Institute of Technology believes a funding boost from the New Zealand Government for industry skills training is crucial for the future development of the country.

Government funding for modern apprentices and other job training programmes has been boosted by an extra $58 million over the next four years in the 2006 budget.

This additional funding is vital for New Zealand’s ongoing infrastructural development as the country faces a shortage of trade skills, says Paul Jeurissen, MIT director of Technology.

“This signals the government’s commitment to addressing the trade skills shortage.”

The bulk of the extra funds, $34.4 million, will go towards increasing the number of modern apprentices to 14,000 by December 2008.

This is welcome news for MIT as it hosts around 200 modern apprentices per year through industry training organisations in the automotive, electro-technology, engineering and plastics sectors. But with additional funding this number could be expanded to 500 over the next three years.

“The extra funding gives us the confidence to expand the number of apprentices we apply for,” says Paul.

The funding boost also includes $15.6 million to increase people participating in industry training and $8.1 million to expand the government’s Gateway pathway programme.

As the demand for development continues to ramp up in Manukau City - as the fastest growing city in the country - there is a critical need for skilled tradespeople, and MIT can deliver those skills through its modern apprenticeship programmes, says Paul.

“With additional funding we can work closer with the secondary schools in our wide catchment area to find more talented apprentices who may have considered a trade career out of their reach. We offer a seamless pathway between the industries and communities we serve.”

Modern apprenticeships provide systematic, high-quality workplace learning opportunities for young people aged 16 to 21. They are based on training agreements registered with industry training organisations (ITO) and involve an apprentice learning on the job as they work towards a Level 3 and 4 national certificate.

ENDS

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