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Modern Apprenticeships next generation of training

March 2008

Modern Apprenticeships – The next generation of Trade Training.

Most people are familiar with the term apprentice, but what is a Modern Apprenticeship?
The term Modern Apprentice stems from government recognition that not enough people are engaging in trades and/or are qualified in a specific trade. The programme, introduced in 2000, focuses on youth between the ages of 16-21 and is a work-based education initiative - set up with the objective of making it easier for employers to recruit and train capable young people.

According to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Pete Hodgson, the success of the programme has been highlighted by the fact that the target to have 14,000 Modern Apprentices in place by the end of 2008 has already been reached. The September 2007 quarter statistics show a total of 14,411 Modern Apprentices, of whom 10,534 are still in training and 3877 have successfully completed their apprenticeships. Industry Trainee numbers are also up, with 133,412 at 30 September 2007, up from 124,829 for the same quarter a year earlier.

An obvious advantage for apprentices are that they are supported by Modern Apprenticeship Coordinators throughout the 2-4 years of work needed to complete an apprenticeship.
Modern Apprenticeship Coordinator at Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec), Belinda Weepu, believes the reason for the programmes success is that coordinators are able to link apprentices with industry and manage the relationships. Her role involves a significant amount of pastoral care from monitoring apprentice’s progress with the employer to acting as a facilitator between the two.

“The Modern Apprenticeship Programme needs the support of businesses to work. An important aspect of my role in raising the number of apprentices is to spend time working with and making connections with local businesses. My region extends as up to the Kapiti Coast and as far as the Wairarapa”, says Belinda.

Belinda who has a degree in Education and Pacific Studies has vast experience working in the tertiary education industry. “It is satisfying meeting apprentices in the workforce and to see how much they are enjoying it – learning and getting paid. Those that are practically minded are likely to be successful in an apprenticeship. My experience has taught me that parents need to reconsider the options for young people to include trades as it is a fantastic and lucrative career path.”


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