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Labour will back employers and guarantee a pipeline of skilled tradespeople by making the successful Apprenticeship Boost scheme a permanent feature of New Zealand’s tertiary education system, Labour leader Chris Hipkins has committed today.

The programme was introduced in 2020 as a temporary COVID-19 measure. It pays employers $500 per month for the first two years of an apprenticeship to support training their employees.

“The world is rapidly changing, and we know the best way to equip New Zealanders for the jobs of tomorrow is through investing in them and their education and training,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Training more New Zealanders creates opportunities and good jobs and reduces our reliance on offshore workers to plug skills shortages. Immigration remains important, but we shouldn’t have to rely on getting the skills we need from overseas.

“Apprenticeship Boost works. It’s helped deliver a 61 percent increase in the number of apprentices over the last three years and supported over 57,000 tradespeople to help fill labour shortages.

“The biggest number of apprentices are being trained in construction which is a sector crying out for more workers.

“Increasingly people want to earn and learn at the same time. Apprenticeship Boost supports that aspiration and has delivered a big increase in the number of Maōri, Pacific and women in the trades.

“In today’s economy many businesses are also places of learning, but they need certainty from Government that we will partner with them. Today I am providing that certainty.

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“Apprenticeship Boost is a great example of how Government can get alongside and support business to invest in their next generation of talent. It’s a win-win.

“Labour’s support for apprentices is in stark contrast to National. Following the global financial crisis, National stood back and let apprenticeship numbers plummet.

“As a result of National’s short-sighted approach New Zealand was left with a skills shortage we’re only now starting to get on top of.

“This policy for the 2023 election reinforces our strong message to school leavers that under Labour the trades are a great career opportunity.

“Labour is the party for apprentices, backing the tradies of tomorrow,” Chris Hipkins said.


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