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Budget 2006: Training to boost industry skills

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister for Tertiary Education

Training for industry to boost skills development

Budget 2006 invests an extra $58 million to ensure New Zealand produces more workers with the skills needed to raise productivity and transform the economy, the Minister for Tertiary Education Michael Cullen said today.

"We are spending an additional $58 million over the next four years in schemes which have proved highly effective in meeting skills shortages and raising skill levels in the workforce.

"It's vital we do more if we are to increase incomes and expand the economic base. Since 2000 the Labour-led government has revitalised industry training as a key component of its strategy to build a more productive economy.

"We aimed to have 150,000 workers participate in the Industry Training system throughout 2005. Latest figures show we did far better than that with 161,000 in 2005. This Budget builds on that success," said Dr Cullen.

Under the initiatives:

• A further $34.4 million over four years to expand the number of Modern Apprentices to 14,000 by December 2008. Over 1,400 Modern Apprentices have completed their qualifications since the scheme's inception in 2000. Total annual spending will rise to $51 million by 2009/10.

• $15.6 million more over four years in the Industry Training Fund to increase the number of people participating in structured workplace learning. This raises annual funding to $146.5 million in 2007, 150 percent more than in 2000.

• $8.1 million over the next four years to expand Gateway, to include all state and integrated secondary schools. Gateway was previously only available to Decile 1-6 schools. The scheme combines school-based learning with structured workplace learning for senior students. Gateway gives valuable workplace experience to guide students into considering a trades-based career. Once the rollout is completed Gateway will be available to over 13,000 students in 400 schools. By 2009/10, annual spending on Gateway will be over $20 million.

“Programmes such as Industry Training, Modern Apprenticeships, and Gateway are a critical part of the Labour-led government’s agenda to transform New Zealand’s economy by improving achievement in education, building a skilled workforce and lifting labour productivity.

“Today’s announcement will mean that these opportunities are available to a larger number of people.”


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