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Tradie shortage fault lies with Government

Grant
ROBERTSON
Tertiary Education, Skills and Training Spokesperson

3 July 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT
Tradie shortage fault lies with Government

The shortage of skilled tradespeople in New Zealand is a serious concern that National has exacerbated by failing to invest in apprenticeships and industry training, Grant Robertson, Labour Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson, said.

“Hekia Parata said at the weekend she is worried about a shortage of skilled tradespeople. Well we can't invent skilled tradespeople out of thin air. It requires training and a commitment to apprenticeships, even in economic down times.

“National failed to do this. After coming into office National oversaw the loss of thousands of apprenticeship positions. By the time they finally woke up in January this year, the skill deficit had been created.

“The Master Builders Federation says that apprentices and trainees in the building and construction industry has dropped below 5000 for the first time in a decade. This is ridiculous when the Christchurch rebuild needs so many staff in this sector.

“After nearly five years, it is National that needs to take some responsibility for the problems with finding skilled staff. Hekia Parata also said last weekend that she thought too much focus was going on universities and academic paths.

“Why on earth then did the National government cut $55 million from industry training in 2010 and give it directly to the university sector? If Hekia Parata thinks tertiary funding priorities are skewed, she needs to talk to Steven Joyce.

“Labour is committed to ensuring New Zealand has the skilled workforce it needs. If we want New Zealanders to have jobs and opportunities then the Government cannot sit on its hands as National has done.

“We backed apprenticeships after National walked away from them in the 1990s. Labour believes it is the responsibility of government to back apprenticeships, whether times are good or bad," Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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