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More to industry training than 'trades.'

More to industry training than 'trades.'

It's time for New Zealanders to wake up to workplace training - get over the old definitions - and capitalise on the huge range of career opportunities that are opening up, said Steve Maharey, Minister responsible for the Tertiary Education Commission.

Industries have more to offer than ever before - jobs that require more skills and more knowledge - but many industries are being held back by a perception lag. In a speech to the Industry Training Federation's annual conference, Steve Maharey said the idea that workplace training means 'trades' is still holding many young people and their parents back from entering many industries.

"I am not convinced that the general awareness and perception of workplace learning, particularly in terms of potential careeer opportunities has kept pace with the diverse and exciting options now on offer in New Zealand," said Steve Maharey.

As a consequence, he said, many parents, teachers and advisers are not weighing the options as to where they should encourage their kids to go based on full information.

"Too many young people are defaulting to study in universities when a career begun with a modern apprenticeship might well be more fulfilling and rewarding."

"The occupations that require industry specific skills but are not primarily managerial or advisory positions or professions, extends well beyond what we would have traditionally thought of as 'trades.'

"These occupations increasingly require greater levels of specific industry related skills across broader numbers of workers in response to the need to shift to a more knowledge based approach."

He said that many traditional manufacturing and primary industry jobs have been transformed by new technology into high tech workplaces comparable to the best equipped surgeries and laboratories. "They now allow for much greater levels of intellectual engagement and offer greater scope for career progression," said Mr Maharey.

Steve Maharey said the government was investing $800,000 over four years into the Skill New Zealand campaign to promote the importance of knowledge and skill in the workplaces in an effort to bolster the number of people in training.

He challenged Industry Training Organisations to actively promote the learning and career options offered by their industries. "The perception lag is doing harm to industry and to New Zealand as a whole. We are all going to need to work to turn this around" he said.

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