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Trade training must be priority

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

17 March 2005

Trade training must be priority

National’s Education spokesman, Bill English, has welcomed figures showing increased numbers of apprentices, but says growth should have been much faster.

“Economic conditions have provided the best opportunity in a generation to give our young people trades and skills training, but the opportunity has gone begging because Labour’s funding priorities are all wrong. “Since Labour came into office, funding for community education courses of the twilight golf variety has grown at 15-times the rate of that for workplace-based skills training.

“And last year alone, Te Wänanga o Aotearoa received $100 million more funding than was allocated for all skills-based training around the country. “Labour clearly has endless money for low-value courses that even it doesn’t have confidence in, but not nearly enough for the thousands of young people who want to learn a trade.”

The electrical trades in particular have seen an upsurge in interest in the past six months. “In some regions, apprentices have been laid off until more public money becomes available,” says Mr English. “At the same time, organisations such as the electrical trades training organisation have been denied additional government funding, which has been capped. This has all happened at a time when we are facing the worst skills shortage in a quarter of a century and increasing demand for trade training.

“Labour should be meeting that demand, which I suspect is a lot greater than the demand for twilight golfers. “National wants to see dodgy courses capped and apprenticeships open ended,” says Mr English.


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