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November 09, 2016 at 01:15 pm

The government’s commitment to invest a further $10 million into industry training and apprenticeships next year is a very welcome and wise investment, says the Industry Training Federation (ITF).  

"Today's announcement will help to fuel growth and meet strong demand for workforce skills." ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams says.

Establishing a target of 50,000 apprentices by 2020 reflects both strong demand, and increased commitment by employers to boost the skills of the workforce through on-the-job training. It comes on top of a boost to apprenticeships in Budget 2016. 

"It's good to see the government backing employers and Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) to upskill the workforce, and keeping its promise following the recession that funding would return when the demand was there." Mr Williams says. 

Like many countries, New Zealand is experiencing a renaissance of apprenticeships as a critical and cost-effective way to develop a skilled workforce.  Apprentices have paying jobs, pay tax, don't have student loans, and gain the right skills through developing and deploying skills in real workplaces.  

"Apprenticeships are a powerful way to efficiently grow workforce skills and provide successful futures for people of all ages" Mr Williams says.  "Participation and performance has improved markedly in recent years, as a result of more capable ITOs, revamped qualifications, and fundamentally, the commitment by employers to deliver skills for their industries."

The ITF also welcomes the further commitment to collaboration in the announcement of new skills hubs, as well as sector-focused and regionally-based initiatives.  "Too often, vocational education has happened in silos, and these joined-up regional efforts are helping to ensure that programmes are targeted at real industry needs, develop core skills like on-site literacy and numeracy, support lifelong learning, and broker people into jobs and careers where skills are badly needed." Mr Williams says.