More trades apprentices, with a focus on more women, are on the cards to meet increasing demand following three pre-Budget announcements this afternoon.
In total, $28.6 million was pledged over four years, with $9.6 million for more Maori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) and the rest for more apprenticeship training.
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says the funding for MPTT, which comes from a contingency in Budget 2015, will allow for 2500 places this year and 3400 next year.
The figure was 1200 in 2014.
It's part of a target of getting 5000 in the programme per year by 2019 to meet shortages in construction and infrastructure.
Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says the training brings together tertiary providers, employers and Maori and Pasifika communities to get young people into work.
Those in the MPTT are more likely to complete their programme than similar learners studying the same qualifications and are also more likely to progress to an apprenticeship, Mr Joyce says.
"MPTT can help reduce skills shortages and welfare dependency at the same time, and provide these young people with a rewarding career," he says.
There's also a focus on getting more females into MPTT. Last year women made up 23 percent of those in training and had a higher completion rate than men.
Mr Joyce says more female trainees are needed in growing sectors like construction and the primary industries.
Meanwhile, Mr Joyce says the strong demand for apprenticeships -- there were 42,000 people enrolled in apprenticeships or training last year -- was encouraging.
The new funding will be of benefit to another 5500 apprentices by 2020 and will also aid in meeting projected skill shortages in high-demand industries like construction and infrastructure.
Pacific Peoples Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga also announced $4.6 million over four years to help Pacific youth in Auckland find work or suitable training programmes.
The money will be channeled through the Pacific Employment Support Services.
In Auckland, 17 percent of Pacific youth are classified as not in employment, education or training -- that equates to 6900 people aged between 15 and 24.
"One in every four babies born in Auckland now is of Pacific descent. That means young pacific people will make up more of the future workforce. Helping their employment prospects benefits everyone," Mr Lotu-Iiga says.