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May 04, 2017 at 07:15 pm

The government's confirmation that there are now 43,000 apprentices in New Zealand is great news for everyone, says the Industry Training Federation. 

It's great news for the 43,000 apprentices, developing and applying their skills in the productive economy, earning and learning, on pathways to successful futures in industries crying out for skills.

It's great news for communities because apprentices are productively employed, trained and mentored by skilled people, and becoming future community and business leaders. 

It's great news for the government, since using real workplaces as sites of learning greatly reduces costs, delivers an immediate economic return, and avoids skills mismatch.   Apprentices train to today's industry standards using today's technologies in today's commercial realities.

But mostly it's great news that more and more employers are taking on apprentices. The proportion of apprentices in the workforce is the same as the mid-80s, which many consider the heyday, and when many apprentices were employed by the government.

"Apprenticeships are back, and that's fantastic,"  says ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams.  "However, there are zero apprentices without employers. With this milestone we applaud the employers of the 43,000 apprentices, securing the future of their industries, and helping to deliver the skilled workforce New Zealand needs."