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Labour Party: Training And Apprenticeships Policy


Labour will continue to increase the numbers of modern apprentices and industry trainees so that each year ten per cent of the New Zealand workforce is participating in formal training.

Improving the skills of the current workforce is crucial for New Zealand to achieve economic transformation and a high-skill high-wage economy, and instilling a training culture is equally important.

Labour brought back apprenticeships in a new form that meets the needs of today’s workplace. We have consistently raised apprentice numbers and will continue to do so.
Labour will increase the number of modern apprentices in training by 1,000 a year so that by December 2011 we have 17,000 people in modern apprenticeship training.

Labour has also dramatically expanded the number of workers of every age receiving training. We have tripled the number of industry trainees this decade.

Labour will continue to increase industry training volumes in order to reach a point where by 2011 ten per cent of New Zealand’s workforce is participating in some recognised industry training over the course of the calendar year.

How Much Will It Cost?

It is estimated that increasing industry training and modern apprenticeships in this way will cost approximately $65 million over the period 2009/10-2012/13.

How the Policy Works

Industry training is structured workplace learning and skill development arranged through one of forty industry training organisations (ITOs). It involves formal training provided for people who are employed in a particular industry, in skills that are linked to the needs of workers, and workplaces in that industry.

ITOs arrange for the delivery of industry training, but they do not carry it out themselves. The training is either delivered by education and training providers such as polytechnics and private training establishments (traditionally called ‘off-job training’) or facilitated through the employer (traditionally called ‘on-job training’)

ITOs are also responsible for setting and maintaining national skill standards, designing national qualifications, and providing leadership within the industry on matters relating to skill and training needs. They cover not only traditional trades occupations, but also many other areas, including services, primary industries, manufacturing, retail, government and community services.

Modern apprenticeships are a form of industry training targeted at young people aged 16–21 years. Modern apprenticeship co-ordinators are funded to provide a range of services to apprentices and employers, to assist them to participate and complete the apprenticeship training successfully.

Reasons for the Changes

Modern Apprenticeships have been an enormous success, warranting further growth.

Modern apprenticeships have been important in attracting young people back to traditional trade occupations. They also involve young people in workplace learning right from the start of their careers, and will make an important contribution to Labour’s new Schools Plus plan for every young person to continue in education and training through to the age of eighteen.

Workplace learning is crucial for workers, business and the entire economy.

Modern apprenticeships are just the start of an ongoing process of reskilling and upskilling that workers and workplaces need to prosper in an ever-changing world. Labour believes that New Zealand must take a more strategic approach to skills development, both in terms of enabling more of our young people to be in a position to access it, and through improving the skills of people already in the workforce. To this end we are working together with business and unions to implement a shared skills strategy, which will improve the productivity of our employers and ensure that all workers have the skills they need to have better standards of living.

It makes sense to tie industry training numbers to the size of the workforce.

Labour has previously set numerical targets for industry training numbers, and this made sense while there was a need to substantially scale up the number of trainees. We still need to keep increasing, but there is no longer the same training deficit as at the start of the decade. Reaching and maintaining a target of ten percent of the workforce will signal the ongoing importance of industry training, while also giving predictability to ITOs.

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