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Budget 2003: $85m industry package unveiled

Budget 2003: $85m industry training package unveiled

A major industry training funding package was announced today, together with a campaign to promote the benefits of workplace learning to employers and workers.

Systematic work-based training is a cornerstone of the government’s Tertiary Education Strategy, enabling businesses to increase their productivity and compete successfully in the global economy and workers to gain new skills, boosting their value to employers.

Steve Maharey said $84.3m in additional funding will be invested in the Industry Training Fund to increase the number of workers participating in workplace learning in 2005 to 150,000 trainees.

“More and more New Zealand businesses agree that training is an investment that pays off in increased productivity and a highly motivated staff. Workers know that becoming more skilled is key to improving wages and conditions.

“The Labour-Progressive government has committed itself to getting 150,000 workers into industry training during 2005, and then increasing the number of trainees to a quarter of a million during 2007. This is a massive increase on the 106,997 Kiwis who learned on the job during 2002.

“An additional $84.340m over four years will be added to the Industry Training Fund in the Budget, allowing us to reach the intermediate goal of 150,000 trainees. The new funding, an additional $30m a year by 2006, takes the government’s industry training contribution from the $60m we inherited in 1999 to $120.6m in 2006 ($106.7m in 2004 and $111.7m in 2005).

“The package of initiatives announced today will assist industry training organisations to fulfill their new responsibility to provide leadership by identifying and responding to the skill needs of business and promoting training to employers and employees. ITOs around the country are attending workshops this week focused on assisting them to implement these new roles.

“A more highly skilled and innovative workforce is essential if New Zealand is to compete in the global economy and if we are to share the gains of economic growth around more fairly. The announcements made today confirm the government’s intention to move this country back into the top half of the OECD,” Steve Maharey said.

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