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Skills, trades essential to a strong economy

Don Brash

National Party Leader
1 September 2005

Skills, trades essential to a strong economy

National Party Leader Don Brash says National will reprioritise tertiary education funding, shifting $20 million from low-value tertiary courses to industry training and apprenticeships. National will also encourage more trade courses in schools.

He was speaking at the launch of National's 'Trades and Skills' policy in Christchurch today.

"Employers are crying out for skilled workers, but Labour is looking the other way as demand for skills training is totally outstripped by the government's readiness to contribute. National will ensure that we are training New Zealanders with the skills our economy needs," says Dr Brash.

"Skills and trades training will be a tertiary education priority. National will cut low-quality courses at polytechnics and wänanga and commit an extra $20 million to industry training. This is a big boost to a budget of just $144 million for Modern Apprenticeships and the Industry Training Fund.

"We will use this funding to further increase the number of modern apprentices and broaden the range of industries that are offered, provided we are assured the quality of training does not decrease as the number of participants increases.

"We will increase the trades training opportunities available in schools with changes to the technology curriculum enabling more students to pick up practical skills at schools. We will also establish 'Business' as a fully-fledged subject so that young people can learn how to manage a business.

"Funding for more facilities for trade training in schools will be a high priority for capital spending in schools.

"National is also committed to widening the range of industry training opportunities for those already in the workforce and will provide $21 million over four years for 'Trades Plus' training.

"This training will be targeted at a new generation of workers who have reached the limits of current workplace training and want more specialised technical skills, or management training. Experienced people should not have to leave the workplace to continue acquiring skills.

"National is aware that, in a slowing economy, industry training will have to be made more attractive in order for many of the small and medium businesses at the heart of the economy to survive. We will work with businesses to further reduce the cost and hassle of workplace training," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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