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Milestone for rail industry training programme

9 June 2005

Mallard - Milestone for rail industry training programme

Speech to launch of rail industry training programme, Woburn Railyard, Lower Hutt

Thank you for inviting me to attend the launch of your rail training qualification which is an important milestone for your sector.

As you know, industry training, and upskilling our workforce is a key goal for our government, working through collaboration between industry, and Industry Training Organisations so we can all make sure New Zealand can keep moving forward.

We are here today to launch the results of such a partnership. The new National Certificates in Rail Operations are a good example of how industry and ITOs can work together.

Developed by Competenz, in association with Transfield, Connex, Toll and Ontrack, the qualifications will meet real industry needs that will, in turn, ensure that the industry continues to meet the country’s transport needs.

Through continual investment, this government has ensured that Industry Training and Modern Apprenticeships enable people in New Zealand’s workforce to further their education and training.

This year's Budget is no exception. Can I say to you all, that now is a great time to be involved in Industry Training and Modern Apprenticeships, with the government investing an additional $44.6 million over the next four years.

There has been a massive increase in funding for Industry Training and Modern Apprenticeships since 1999. The total allocation for Industry Training in 1999 was $56.1 million, and Modern Apprenticeships did not exist.

Next year the amount spent on Industry Training will have more than doubled to $120.5m. By 2009, funding will have increased to $131 million – representing a huge 134 percent increase.

Funding for Modern Apprenticeships has increased steadily since its inception in 2000 and will reach $31 million in 2007. As a result, the government is well on the way of meeting its target of 9000 Modern Apprentices by the end of next year.

This commitment to building a skilled workforce, using taxpayer funds, will not only result in increased outputs and productivity for businesses but in increased job satisfaction and career opportunities for workers.

While the government has responded to the need for continued increased investment, it is good to see employers and industries taking up the mantle and investing in up-skilling people and training new employees.

It is obvious that those here today are dedicated to this cause. By establishing the Rail Industry Programme, it is clear Competenz is committed to facilitating training that meets industry, regional and national needs in the future.

This commitment is also reflected in the fact that Competenz has the most Modern Apprentices out of any ITO. In the first three months of this year, Competenz increased this number by an impressive 14 percent, from 1297 apprentices to 1477.

Competenz has also increased the number of Industry Trainees by 16 percent in the year to March 2005 – from 10,144 to 11,795.

In the Wellington region alone, there are more than 1,500 Industry Trainees and close to 90 Modern Apprentices.

This kind of commitment to training and education is great to see and as more industries adopt this model and follow your example, we will be well placed to meet the needs of New Zealand well into the future.



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