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Encouraging a more skilled workforce

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister for Tertiary Education

Encouraging a more skilled workforce

Budget 2007 provides a further substantial investment to ensure our training system produces more of the right workers needed to increase productivity and so accelerate economic transformation, Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"The Labour-led government is investing a further $76.3 million of operating funding over the next four years and $2.2 million of capital funding over the next two years in initiatives that aim to meet skills shortages and raise skill levels in the workforce.

"If we want to create a more resilient and flexible economy it is critical we raise productivity. That means effective industry training. Therefore Budget 2007 increases industry training by $53 million over the next four years.

"In 2005 there were some 160,000 in industry training and the new funding aims to support 220,000 in training annually by 2011.

"The extra funding reflects the decision not to proceed with a tax credit as part of the Business Tax Reform. We listened to many businesses and agreed that support for existing schemes, which have proved highly successful, was a more effective way of improving skill levels.

Budget 2007 also provides:

- $15.8 million over four years to support Industry Training Organisations to identify current and future industry skill and training needs, and work along side other tertiary education organisations to help them respond effectively to those needs. (Pre-Budget announcement)

- $7.5 million of operating funding over four years and $2.2 million of capital funding over the next two years to fund development and implementation of a national assessment tool for adult literacy, numeracy and language. This work will involve research into what is effective teaching and learning in this complex area of teaching, as well as professional development for tutors.

“Supporting development of adult literacy, numeracy and language skills is a priority for our government. All adults need to have adequate reading, writing and mathematics skills if they are to be able to participate fully in today’s society and contribute to a high income, knowledge-based economy,” said Dr Cullen.

ENDS

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