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National's 'increase' amounts to a cut

1 September 2005

National's 'increase' amounts to a cut

National's policy on industry training falls well short of what the economy needs and what Labour intends to put in place to address skills shortages, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"Where have Bill English and Don Brash been? Finally they recognise that more needs to be done to upskill New Zealanders because of their inaction in the 1990s when they ran down the apprenticeship system and ignored the need for a significant boost in industry training, blindly believing that market forces would sort it out.

"Their policy today is effectively an endorsement of what our government has been doing for six years. But industry training will be worse off should National be elected as their policy is a cut dressed up as an increase. It is well short of Labour's commitment to a significant investment in more industry training and apprenticeships from next year.

"We will be putting an extra $10 million a year into 5000 extra Modern Apprenticeships by 2008. We intend to increase industry trainee numbers as well, at a cost of around $30 million a year by the end of 2008.

"And remember, this proposed additional investment does not include the $17.8 million that is already being shifted from low quality tertiary courses into industry training, as a result of the recent review of non-degree level tertiary provision.

"We will also extend the Gateway programme, designed to build pathways for senior secondary students into work-based learning, to all state high schools by 2007.

"Labour is committed to quality, sustainable growth in industry training, and our record in government demonstrates this.

"The Labour-led government has invested heavily in industry training after National ignored skills shortages in the 1990s.

"We have doubled the Industry Training Fund – up from $56.1 million in 1999 to $128.9 million for 2006. Funding to Industry Training Organisations has increased by more than 60 per cent over six Budgets. We’ve raised participation levels in industry training by 72 per cent from 81,000 trainees in 2000 to 139,000 in 2004.

"The Labour-led government also introduced the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, which has already created work-based learning opportunities for more than 8000 young people," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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