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PM Congratulates 500th Modern Apprentice

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today the government's Modern Apprenticeships programme was playing a critical role in creating the workforce needed for a more dynamic economy.

During a visit to Hamilton telecommunications supplier Downer Connect today Helen Clark made a presentation to the 500th apprentice to be recruited under the programme.

Helen Clark was accompanied by Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary) Steve Maharey.

The apprentice, Gillian Anderson, is working towards a National Certificate in Telecommunications. Gillian is employed by the Electrical Training Company and Downer Connect is her current host company.

Helen Clark said Modern Apprenticeships was helping create the skilled workforce that was the key to a high-wage, knowledge-based society.

"The aim is that by 2002 Modern Apprenticeships will be providing employment-based learning for 3000 young people in high-technology areas as well as traditional trades.

"Through agencies like the new Ministry for Economic Development and Industry New Zealand, we are seeing new initiatives to support businesses with new ideas and regions with plans for growth.

"The government's focus is on creating the conditions for our talented people and enterprises to prosper.

"The Modern Apprenticeships programme and increased spending on industry training will help create the workforce required.

"It is an exciting programme that will help shape a stronger economic performance and create the jobs New Zealanders need," Helen Clark said.


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