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Modern apprenticeships will rebuild NZ economy

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark today said that Labour's new, modern apprenticeship scheme would boost industry and provide fresh opportunities for young New Zealanders.

In visits to factories and to the Manukau Institute of Technology today to speak about apprenticeships, Helen Clark said that National's 1992 repeal of apprenticeships had not helped industry.

"New Zealand skill levels by world standards are low. Other countries are rapidly moving ahead of us. We need a co-ordinated training strategy to lift skill levels across the workforce, and to benefit the New Zealand economy as a whole.

"There is no effective overall industry skills strategy for the nation. We are not training enough people in the skills that a knowledge based economy needs. Many manufacturers cannot recruit enough staff because of the shortage of trained workers.

"The dearth of highly trained workers is hampering industry and stifling growth. And many young people leaving school would like to learn a trade and technical skills but opportunities for that are limited.

"Labour will introduce legislation for a Modern Apprenticeship Programme which will provide better opportunities for New Zealanders to gain national qualifications through work-based training.

"The Modern Apprenticeship Programme will provide two main types of employment-based training arrangements:
· apprenticeships leading to trade qualifications;
· traineeships for non-trade occupations such as in the clerical, retail and hospitality sectors.

"As well as helping people into training, we will assist employers by minimising the bureaucracy and costs associated with work-based training. Where employers are unsure about taking on an apprentice themselves, Group Training Companies set up by Industry Training Organisations will be able to act as the employer. This will ensure that the apprentice has a single employer even if they move from one work site to another.

"If New Zealand is to build a strong economy, then the core issues of education and training must be addressed. Our top priority has to be cutting the costs of education and training so that our young people get the skills they need in a modern economy built around knowledge, skill and technology.

"We will make sure that all young New Zealanders have access to education and training opportunities, so that at all stages of their lives students can learn progressively and build easily on their existing knowledge," Helen Clark said.

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