July 25, 2005
National scrapped apprenticeships, says trade union
The National Party’s sudden commitment to apprenticeships is a complete about-face on its actions when it was in power, says the country’s largest trade union.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union assistant national secretary Rosalie Webster says that it was a National-led government that effectively wiped out the old apprenticeship system in the 1990s, leading to the huge trades skills-crisis facing New Zealand today.
“The National Party, when it was last in power, decided that ‘the free market’ would deliver all the industry training New Zealand needed,” she said.
“It effectively dismantled the tried-and-true apprenticeship scheme that had trained generations of tradespeople, leaving an industry training deficit which is now causing industries major problems.”
Ms Webster said that the EPMU and others had tried to warn the National Government of the effects of its policies, but it hadn’t listened.
“We are therefore extremely sceptical when we see the same people who were in that Government now saying that they will boost apprenticeships and industry training,” she said.
The EPMU was active in promoting the Modern Apprenticeship scheme to the Labour Party.