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Apprenticeships are great but what about the rest of us?

25th January 2013

Apprenticeships are great but what about the rest of us?

Waikato Students’ Union President Aaron Letcher thinks it’s great that the government announced changes to the apprenticeship scheme today.

What he doesn’t think is so great is that the same incentives aren’t offered for the approximately 400,000 students a year who attend University to gain qualifications in highly skilled areas and are forced to pay their own way with increasing costs of study and particularly course related costs. “The government has stated time and time again that they want to build a new knowledge based economy with a focus on science and technology but this decision skews the playing field in favour of someone who leaves high school and walks into a trade or someone who needs to retrain,” said Letcher.

The choice between academic achievement and learning a trade will become more difficult the older you get.

“If you are in your 30s with a young family and in-between jobs you’re going to be confronted with a decision. On the one hand you can go and retrain in science or IT at astronomical personal cost or you can strap on a tool belt and the government will help get you started.”

“We are not suggesting for a moment that the government shouldn’t help our young apprentices or make it easier to learn a trade. We are simply stating that they should also consider the 400,000 domestic students currently enrolled in tertiary education when they are allocating kick starts and incentives. The vast majority of whom need to spend over and above the $1,000 per academic year they borrow in course related costs and are expected to pay back with their student loan.”


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