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National boosts apprenticeships, industry training

Hon. Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

24 July 2005

National boosts apprenticeships, industry training

Apprenticeships and industry training will get a big boost from National as it prunes back dodgy tertiary courses, said National’s Education spokesman, Bill English, while launching his party’s tertiary education policy today.

“We will start by cutting the $10 million for more bureaucrats that Trevor Mallard announced last week. He is pouring good money after bad.

“A growing economy provides the best opportunity to give our young people skills because employers are willing to take them on. More young people should be heading into trades, but Labour’s policy has pushed them into low-quality courses with no value for employment.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted on dodgy and low-quality tertiary courses, while funding for apprenticeships and workplace training has been capped.

“National will put tough restrictions on low-level tertiary courses which have enjoyed explosive growth under Labour, and take the restrictions off workplace training.”

Mr English said National will abolish community education courses provided by tertiary institutions.

“We will also put a freeze on spending on low-level certificate and diploma courses, which currently cost more than over $600 million. There will be no more growth until we have fixed the problems.

“National will introduce tougher quality requirements and consistent sanctions on providers where those requirements aren’t met. For instance, we will cut courses where more than 50% of students drop out two years in a row.

“I want to see strong accountability after the debacle under Labour. National will reform polytechnic councils to ensure stronger accountability for academic and financial decisions.

“We will cut back the complex bureaucracy which has so spectacularly failed. A recent government report paints a picture of confusion, infighting and downright incompetence in the TEC, Ministry of Education and NZQA

“It will take some time and determination to clean up Labour’s mess in tertiary education, but National is committed to doing the job. Students deserve to know that every publicly funded course is a quality course, and taxpayers want to know their dollar is used for real investment in the future, not propping up incompetence and sloppiness”, says Mr English.

ENDS

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