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Labour's Election Pledges No 3: Industry Training

28 July 2005

LABOUR’S KEY ELECTION PLEDGES No. 3: Industry Training

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced the third of Labour's key election pledges: to create an extra 5,000 Modern Apprenticeship places, taking the total number to 14,000 in 2008.

Helen Clark said Labour is committed to supporting sustainable and quality growth in New Zealand's industry training system.

"In addition to the extra Modern Apprentices, we will also continue to work towards our goal of having 250,000 people participating in structured industry training.

"We will also extend the Gateway programme, designed to build pathways for senior secondary students into work-based learning, to all state high schools by 2007.

"Industry training and Modern Apprenticeships have a vital role to play in ensuring that New Zealand has the skill base it needs to support a growing economy.

“The strong economic growth New Zealand has had during Labour’s first two terms in office has created a big demand for skills.

“Labour has been steadily increasing its investment in skills training over its past six Budgets.

“We have already provided for a doubling of the government’s investment in the Industry Training Fund – up from $56.1 million in 1999 to $128.9 million for 2006.

"We have increased funding to Industry Training Organisations by more than 60 per cent over six Budgets. We’ve raised participation levels in industry training by 72 per cent from 81,000 trainees in 2000 to 139,000 in 2004.

"We introduced the Modern Apprenticeship scheme, which has already created work-based learning opportunities for 7,760 young people. We will spend just over $30 million on the scheme in the current financial year. Before today’s announcement, our target was to have 9,000 Modern Apprentices in place next year. The new target is for 14,000 in 2008.

"We are committed to ensuring that investment in tertiary education and training is spent in areas of relevance for learners, employers, and the country as a whole.

During our next term in government, Labour will also: Allow up to twenty per cent of Modern Apprentices in any industry to be above the current age limit of 21. Continue to work towards the goal of having all 15-19 year olds participating in some form of education, training, or work by 2007. Work with employers, unions, employees, Industry Training Organisations, and training providers to increase significantly participation in, and the quality and relevance of that training. Work with small and medium sized enterprises, and the self-employed to lift participation in training. Continue support for the Skill New Zealand partnership with business and employee representatives to promote the trades as a career option for young people.

"A skilled workforce lifts productivity, which in turn lifts the competitive edge of our industries. Employers need an increasingly well-trained workforce to deal with the ever-changing environment in which they operate, and to compete successfully in the global marketplace.

"Labour has placed a huge priority on training during its time in government. We are committed to further increasing our targets for industry training because we know a highly skilled workforce is essential for any strong economy."

Helen Clark announced Labour's Industry Training policy at the Industry Training Federation conference in Wellington.

ENDS

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