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Education and Training Leaving Age

Hon Steve Maharey

Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)

MP for Palmerston North

Embargoed until 1am, Thursday 4 July 2002

3 July 2002

Labour commits to an Education and Training Leaving Age

Labour wants to see all 15 to 19 year olds engaged education, training or work by 2006/07, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Details of the Education and Training Leaving Age Strategy are contained in Labour’s industry training policy, Skilling New Zealand, released today. The plan will see existing training programmes expanded and the recognition of other personal development options that will lead to long-term independence and well-being.

Steve Maharey said that Labour believes that all young people under the age of 19 should be in education, training, or a job.

“In government we have seen significant employment growth and the lowest unemployment rate in 13 years, but there are still far too many young people unemployed. In addition, by some estimates there are as many as 8,000 who are not in the labour force, and not at school.

“We must ensure young people get a good start and build their skills so that they can find meaningful employment.

“The education and training leaving age strategy we are announcing today will involve:

- the expansion of Modern Apprenticeships to 7,500 by June 2006 - this will mean that approximately 4,5000 young people aged 15-18 will be Modern Apprentices;

- expanding opportunities for Maori in trade training;

- expanding the Gateway, school-to-work transition, programme to all decile 1-5 state schools by 2006/07. This will give Gateway opportunities to some 12,000 senior secondary school students; and

- providing post training support services for all participants in the Youth Training programme (13,000 per year) by 2006/07.

“The school leaving age will not be increased. The Education and Training Leaving Age will ensure there are a variety of education, training, and employment pathways. We expect that this will see some students staying on at school because they will be able to mix school and work-based study, and, for example, build credits towards an apprenticeship.

“The programmes that make up the Education and Training Leaving Age Strategy will provide support and training for 17- 18,000 young people per year. In addition, the expanded Gateway programme (school-to-work transition) and the development of NCEA options will increase school retention rates and are likely to have a positive impact on rates of enrolment in polytechnics,” Steve Maharey said.

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