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Rick Barker Speech: Apprenticeships Work

Rick Barker Speech: Apprenticeships Work

Partnership with Industry opens the Gateway

Speech Notes

Delivered at Whangarei Boys High School 10 June 2004

Partnership with Industry opens the Gateway

Good evening, Mayor Bowen, School principal Al Kirk and representatives from the business community.

The work and partnerships that have been developed between Whangarei Boys High School and industry here are very exciting. It is a model of what the government are aiming for throughout New Zealand.

There is an obvious match here between resources and jobs. There are plenty of young men here amping to get training for jobs and there are vacancies. What is making this work this time is the commitment and planning from the school and local industry to develop an operational framework.

The six firms who have given over a $100,00 0 worth of machinery for school training is absolutely tremendous. Thank you for this great boost to learning you have offered the boys.

I am going back to Steve Maharey to bring him up to speed on how well this scheme is operating here. I know he visited last May.

Key to this success is the development of clear goal posts and honesty about expectations.

The industry have stipulated that they want boys with a good working attitude ie turning up early and on time, being responsible and eager to learn. Part of this deal is that these boys are likely to be number one on their list when suitable jobs come up.

The school is gearing up the boys to have a positive and enthusiastic approach to on the job training. The co-ordinators here are also following through by going to the workplace to ensure that their students are learning and gaining the right credits for school passes.

This partnership is in fact the gateway to a bright future for both industry and young men.

I remember as an awkward teenager hearing of my school mates being offered apprenticeships at a local firm and then leaving school to take them up. We were all a bit envious of those who left school for good jobs but also inspired to get out there and make it happen for us.

We were stimulated and motivated to make things happen in our lives. It gave us a vision. This is what Gateway is all about.

It is great for young men that apprenticeships are back and industry training is back. Not all people are suited to tertiary education and not all tertiary graduates end up in jobs they want. So many people's skills are in trades and that is where their real talent and job satisfaction lies.

This often leads to good incomes and jobs for life. In fact it has been said many time that over 50% of self made men who are now millionaires don't have tertiary education.

Mike Moore for example went on to be the head of the World Trade Organisation.

As everyone knows, being a teenager is a time of transition. Not only do the girls across the road at girls high become suddenly more interesting - the reality of growing up and getting a job begins to bite.

There is nothing worse than having no job and no prospects.

While most people make the transition from school to work successfully around 10 per cent are not in education, training or work.

The government is aiming to have all 15-19 year olds in education, training or work by 2008.

This has wide implications for the whole of society. I would expect that drug abuse would reduce as would problems with binge drinking, teenage pregnancy and suicide.

So often where you work and learn can become where you belong - where you fit. These things are vital to a sense of identity to a teenager.

The government is investing in young people.

In budget 2003 the government allocated resources to build pathways from school into work, education or training with a package of $56.6 million over 3 years.

This package allowed for the expansion of Gateway to all decile 1-5 schools by 2007 and allowed for the Modern Apprenticeship programme to expand to 7,500 participants nationwide by June 2006.

Gateway will expand to all decile schools, 1-6 by 2008. In Northland there are now 22 schools involved in the programme including Whangarei Girls High and Kamo High.

Gateway is highly valued by all those involved - schools, young people and employers alike.

The march towards a more skilled workforce is taking major strides with figures showing over 6,200 workers in on-the-job training in Northland last year.

In this region there are 948 trainees in forest industry, 359 meat workers, almost 390 in dairy and meat processing and 146 hospitality, plus 297 agriculture, 107 in electro technology, 249 in building sector and 184 in road transport industry training.

Nationwide, industry training numbers grew by almost 20,000 - or 19 per cent - last year, reaching a record high of 126,870 trainees. All these trainees are working towards gaining national qualifications.

In the Far North, Whangarei, Kaipara and Rodney council areas, a total of 6,268 workers participated in industry training last year.

This programme, initiated by the Labour-led government, is now producing its first graduates, with 215 Modern Apprentices graduating nationwide.

The government is investing $25.2 million in the Modern Apprenticeships Scheme this financial year.

So that's enough of rattling off the figures, the point is that the government is right behind you on linking up young people with the need for workers in the economy.

Northland's economy is growing more so than other areas right now and the last thing anyone wants is for work to be slowed because of lack of workers.

The success of the Gateway Programme at Whangarei Boys High School is because of the high level of employer goodwill in the Whangarei area and the dedication of school staff here.

The many employers here this evening providing workplace learning is a way of helping young people feel inspired, challenged and needed.

The linkage you have made between Gateway and your Apprenticeships Work programme is commendable. This is an excellent example of innovation in building on Gateway. It is also an great example of working in collaboration with the local business community.

Thanks for your commitment and dedication to industry in New Zealand and the young men here who are tomorrow's future.

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