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Budget 2000: Building the nation's skills

Hon Steve Maharey
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)

15 June 2000


Building the nation's skills

The Government will invest an additional $73.2 million over four years to boost the capacity of New Zealanders to succeed at work and in society and to counter growing skills shortages in the economy, Associate Education Ministers Steve Maharey and Lianne Dalziel said today.

"Skills shortages are blighting an otherwise optimistic outlook for our economy and excluding far too many New Zealanders from full social and economic participation.

"Budget 2000 provides $42.2 million over four years to fund Modern Apprenticeships, a new initiative which will go nationwide from 1 January 2001.

"This provides work-based mentored training leading to recognised national qualifications. Employers have told us they appreciate the way we have structured the scheme to remove the red tape previously associated with apprenticeships and we have high hopes for its success.

"New Zealand’s young people face a complex, changing and uncertain world and to succeed they must become as skilled and adaptable as possible. We will pilot a new Gateway programme in 2001 and 2002 which allows senior secondary students to take vocational and technical units of learning, including through study in workbased environments. $4 million will be provided for the pilots, to be funded through reprioritisation of funds allocated for the Secondary/Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR).

"We are providing $8 million over four years for adult education and community learning. This is designed to improve basic literacy skills, to give better access to tertiary level qualifications to those with poor levels of education, and to improve community-based learning.

"Significant new investment is also being made in industry training. The Industry Training Fund will be increased by $23 million over four years, increasing total investment in industry training to $281.8 million by 2003/04.

"With a growing economy and the expansion of training into industries that were previously without systematic training arrangements, employers, employees and Industry Training Organisations have been investing increasing amounts of their own time and money in skills development.
By increasing the funds available for training subsidies, we are supporting the current growth in industry training and allowing more people from a broader range of industries to access training in years to come.

"Government agencies are also being asked to focus on skills shortages. We will be writing into Skill New Zealand and the Department of Work and Income's purchase agreements for the coming financial year a requirement to work with business to identify skills gaps across the regions and to help in finding solutions," the Ministers said.


ENDS

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