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Burton Speech: Tourism & Modern Apprentice Grads

Mark Burton Speech: First Tourism and Travel Modern Apprentice graduates

Good evening. I am delighted to be here, to present a graduation certificate to Vanessa Zeitsman, New Zealand’s very first Tourism and Travel Modern Apprentice.

I bring the best wishes and congratulations of my colleague Hon Steve Maharey, Minister responsible for Tertiary Education Commission.

He regrets he cannot be here to celebrate this milestone with us, but sends Vanessa his warmest congratulations.

Vanessa is a young woman with a lot to celebrate. At 16, Vanessa left school with no qualifications and began working at the Skyline Gondola & Restaurant in Queenstown. Six months later she became New Zealand’s first Modern Apprentice in Tourism and Travel.

Now, just 16 months later, Vanessa has gained National Certificates in Tourism & Travel – Introductory Skills (Level 2) and Tourism & Travel – Core Skills (Level 3).

The Modern Apprenticeships initiative is a very fine example of the sort of success that can be achieved when innovative new approaches are trialled, and more specifically, of the value of workplace learning and its interest and relevance to young people.

Many of our young people are finding themselves more motivated to learn on the job than in a classroom environment. The Modern Apprenticeship programme, which was introduced by the Labour-led government in 2000, provides an excellent option.

The programme targets those aged 15 to 21 years old, and provides a work-based, prestige-training pathway for young people after a decade of declining participation by this group in industry training.

The Modern Apprenticeships programme continues to attract employers and apprentices across a wide range of industries.

By September 2003, there were 6,073 apprentices training in 30 different industries widening the apprenticeship concept well beyond its trade origins and illustrating the excellent progress being made towards the target of 6,500 Modern Apprenticeships by June 2004.

For tourism, the programme is particularly exciting. Prior to June 2002, this vibrant industry had no previous history of apprenticeships. This year, however, we have signed on 37 apprentices, and I understand this number is expected to increase to 50 by the end of the year.

Steve Maharey particularly asked that I acknowledge the “substantial contribution the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation continues to make to the Modern Apprenticeships programme. The programme is proving to be very successful.”

Our tourism apprentices are gaining a pathway into a great industry full of opportunities. The industry will gain the enthusiasm and fresh perspectives of young workers, as well as an improvement in the general skills and knowledge base of the industry.

The Modern Apprenticeships scheme really does create a win-win situation.

Each new modern apprenticeship is a personal success story – a statement of an individual young person’s commitment to their training, and of their employer’s commitment to them, the enterprise they are working in, and the New Zealand economy.

Vanessa Zeitsman’s achievement tonight is no different. I congratulate Skyline for being the industry leader in engaging tourism’s first Modern Apprentice. I congratulate you on your outstanding work over the past 16 months, and wish you all the very best in your career.

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