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Govt ally attacks trades policy

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

13 July 2006

Govt ally attacks trades policy

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says a major union has attacked Labour's bums-on-seats trades training policy in a private letter to Dr Cullen.

The letter, from Lloyd Woods, the president of the union representing tertiary staff, expresses deep concern about the 'dumbing down' of trades training.

Mr Woods was writing to Dr Cullen defending the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Registration Board which was sacked yesterday.

Mr Woods says ITOs 'have generally dumbed down many qualifications in order to make sure more trainees are signed on'.

He says people within the industry 'are complaining about the standard of graduates and their lack of real skills and knowledge', and the union backs the plumbing board for 'sticking to their guns and expecting highly skilled tradespeople'.

Mr English says he agrees with Mr Woods's summary that 'increased numbers that are not backed up with increased skill levels actually achieve little'.

"There is no surer sign that the Government's skills policy is in trouble when its supporters turn on it.

"National supports high standards across education. Labour's policies have focussed on big numbers at the expense of sound standards."

ENDS

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