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Education Is Key To New Zealand’s Recovery

Manukau Institute of Technology is welcoming today’s Budget announcement for championing the role vocational skills training will play in offsetting the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“MIT has already begun working with industry, unions, local and central government to support workers who have been recently made redundant,” says MIT Chief Executive – Gus Gilmore.

“Today’s $1.6 billion package to support trades training is a major boost to this work that will help the country grow its way to recovery.”

Extending free trades training to all over the next two years will smooth the transition for many workers whose industries are severely affected by a downturn, allowing them to find new careers in building, construction, manufacturing as well as community health, counselling and care work.

The targeted support offered in the Budget protects our country’s talent pipeline in these critical areas offering employers the certainty of being able to retain apprentices while providing opportunities for 1,000 more high school students to join the Trades Academy scheme.

“These are well-judged interventions delivered to potential pressure points in workforce development during tough times,” says Mr Gilmore. “They will help communities like ours in South Auckland where job losses are likely to be felt the hardest.”

The major investment comes as MIT prepares to open its TechPark development in Manukau. The facility will offer a state-of-the-art learning environment and centre of excellence for trades training in the Auckland region.

Māori and Pasifika learners are also supported by the $50M Māori Apprenticeships Fund and $22M for Auckland Pacific Skills Shift. The latter will offer micro-credentials to 5,000 Pasifika workers in the building and construction industry.

“This sort of initiative really helps those who have joined a sector during boom times, perhaps without formal qualifications, earn those while they’re in work, allowing them to develop their careers and increasing their value as employees,” says Mr Gilmore.

The Budget strengthens the national networks guiding the newly merged New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

The $276 million announced to support Workforce Development Councils and Regional Skills Leadership Groups will allow these bodies to focus on skills needs at a local level through engaging diverse stakeholders including employers, unions, iwi and community.

“This collaboration is critical to making sure today’s significant investment is well spent and produces the twin benefits of high value jobs, while building the future workforce the country needs,” say Gus Gilmore.

The new national institute structure allows New Zealand’s vocational education sector to develop a strong response to the challenges of COVID-19.

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