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Campaign to raise skill levels in four industries

Joint campaign to raise skill levels in four industries

A joint government, business and union campaign to raise skill levels in four key industries was launched this afternoon by Acting Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Margaret Wilson.

The campaign targets tourism, furniture, retail and hospitality employers and promotes the benefits of on-the-job training customised to meet their industry needs. It is being run under the banner of skill new Zealand campaign which aims to lift participation in industry training from the 127,000 learning on-the job today to 150,000 trainees by 2005, and from there on to 250,000 trainees.

Margaret Wilson said involving more workers in industry training provides the short-cut to increased productivity and profits for employers, and better pay and conditions for their workers.

"A skilled workforce is a flexible workforce, able to quickly repond to the needs of their customers. In the globalised world that New Zealand products and services now compete in, this kind of flexibility is a real advantage.

"In 2003 the government, Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions agreed to jointly campaign on significantly boosting the levels of participation in industry training across the economy. Funding of $800,000 was allocated for the campaign in Budget 2003.

"Last year the skill new zealand partners talked with small and medium sized businesses across the country about what practical steps we need to take to encourage greater participation in industry training. This year we have used the knowledge gained to target, initially, four industry sectors where there is substantial room to increase participation in on-the-job training.

"Tailored brochures have been written for employers in each industry describing how the industry system works and the benefits of getting on board.

"The campaign coincides with a significant boost in funding for work-based learning, with the Industry Training Fund doubling to $120 million by 2006 from the $60 million funding available when the government came to office in 1999," Margaret Wilson said.


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