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May 25, 2017 at 03:30 pm

Budget 2017 offered little good news for workplace training and apprenticeships, despite high demand, strong jobs growth, and critical skills shortages across many areas of the economy.

There are currently 148,000 industry trainees and apprentices, making employers the largest and fastest growing provider of post-school education in New Zealand.  

In announcing $132m of tertiary education expenditure, just $2.7m has been directed towards industry training and apprenticeships, despite 200,000 jobs having been created over the last three years, and the government's target of 50,000 apprentices by 2020. 

"The world of work is rapidly changing.  We need to question the proportion of tertiary education resource directed to delivering large qualifications to young people before they embark on 50-year careers." Mr Williams says.

"Industry Trainees and Apprentices are in productive employment, furthering their careers, earning and learning, gaining qualifications, paying tax, and not racking up student loans." ITF Chief Executive Josh Williams says.

The Industry Training and Apprenticeships sector receives just 7 percent of tertiary tuition and training subsidies, because partnering with workplaces to deliver training vastly reduces costs to taxpayers. 

"Every trainee and apprentice represents a commitment by New Zealand employers to invest in their people, secure the future of their industries, and support prosperous communities and economy." Mr Williams says. 

Ministers, MPs, agencies, employers, educators, and Industry Training Organisations will gather on June 20 at the ITF Workforce Development Summit on June 20 at Wellington’s Te Papa. The summit aims to improve connections between education and employment, develop workforce skills, and improve capability and productivity in New Zealand firms.