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Training and apprenticeships continue rise

17 March 2005 Media Statement

Industry training and apprenticeships continue rise

Industry Training and Modern Apprenticeships figures for 2004 show that thousands more people are participating than ever before, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today. The latest figures show that 139,597 trainees were involved in Industry Training and Modern Apprenticeships during 2004, compared with 126,870 in 2003.

"This is great news for our young people but also for New Zealand employers who have been faced with skills shortages since National decided to scrap the traditional apprenticeship system in the 1990s.

"The situation is now turning around dramatically. The Labour-led government has doubled industry training funding since 1999 when National was in government, so that by 2007, $136.7 million will be invested annually.

"When our government introduced the Modern Apprenticeships programme in 2000, National promised to abolish it. Under Labour, funding for Modern Apprenticeships will reach $33 million in 2007.

“The achievement of nearly 140,000 industry trainees is significant for the Labour-led government and for industry. A 10 per cent increase over one year confirms that the Industry Training partnership is working, with benefits for employees, employers and industries,” Trevor Mallard said.

“The figures also confirm that industry is continuing to invest in training and support the strategy, proof that the system is relevant to industry needs. “With strong economic growth and low unemployment, the Labour-led government and industry have a shared interest in ensuring that strategies are in place to overcome skill shortages and increase productivity.

The growth in Modern Apprenticeships and Industry Training is evidence that this is happening. “We are on target for 150,000 trainees during 2005, including 8,500 Modern apprentices by June 2005. As at December 31 2004, there were 7175 apprentices.

“This means New Zealand industries can plan with more certainty. They know that the skilled workforce they need is coming on stream,” Trevor Mallard said. Trevor Mallard released the latest statistics during a visit to Industrial Research Ltd, Lower Hutt, where he met engineering apprentice Chris Hilleard. In the Wellington region, the number of industry trainees and apprentices increased by 1338 to 13,700 between 2003 and 2004.

ENDS

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