Govt apprenticeship funding shouldn't be 'used in vain'


The extra funding the Government is putting behind trades training from this year's Budget needs to be targeted to be effective, says an electrician company.

Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced on Thursday that $28.6 million over the next four years will be given towards more apprenticeship training.

Of that total, $9.6 million will go towards Maori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT), and there will also be a focus on recruiting women. [LINK]

Master Electricians, based in Wellington, says there is a clear disconnect between employers and potential apprentices, and the only way to solve this is if more Kiwi employers take on apprentices.

They suggest a screening process for potential apprentices before the off-job trainers are given additional funding.

Chief executive Neville Simpson says the first priority for the Government project work should be given to employers who have apprentices under proper agreements in their workforce.

"There needs to be a system in place to match suitable employers with apprentices, so that government money is not used in vain when an apprentice drops out of the system because the employer no longer wants or needs them."

Mr Simpson says proper licensing must be maintained.

Mr Joyce says more than 42,000 Kiwis enrolled in apprenticeships and apprenticeship training last year.

He says the funding will help support another 5500 apprentices by 2020.

"The construction sector is growing strongly throughout the country. Increased apprenticeship numbers will help fill skill gaps and provide the new people needed to maintain that growth."

Master Electricians owns the subsidiary ETCO, an electrical apprenticeship programme which trains 600 apprentices who are seconded to host employers.

The company suggests this method to other trades struggling to match their youth with apprenticeships.