The CEO of Competenz, Fiona Kingsford, says her organisation is delighted to see today’s Government announcement of up to $16,000 going to employers to help pay the costs of all apprentices for the first two years.
“This apprentice wage subsidy will provide relief for our employers and protects the jobs of workers in the early stages of their apprenticeships, who are often the most vulnerable. It will also allow businesses to take on new apprentices to help combat an ongoing skills shortage and post-COVID unemployment,” says Ms Kingsford.
“Coupled with the Government’s free apprenticeship and targeted traineeship training fund announced on 02 June, this shows a real commitment to getting New Zealand industry training back on track to lead our post-COVID economic recovery.”
In his announcement, Education Minister Chris Hipkins also said the Government wanted to help employers keep their apprentices on and give them confidence to take on new apprentices, particularly as they fast track new infrastructure projects.
“Without support of this kind after the Global Financial Crisis, apprentices were let go and when the economy picked up, New Zealand struggled with huge skills shortages and had to pay more to find skilled people from overseas,” said Minister Hipkins.
Across the 37 sectors Competenz represents, including engineering, manufacturing, food processing and forestry, employers will be able to access the subsidy for nearly 3,000 apprentices.
From August 2020 to April 2022, employers can apply for funding of up to $12,000 per apprentice in their first 12 months of training, and up to $6,000 in their second 12 months.
Ms Kingsford is also pleased to see this support will reach those who need to retrain in a new industry due to COVID-19, and school leavers who may be facing an uncertain future in the job market.
“There will be a swathe of school leavers entering the job market at the end of this year and they have just been given a real boost. An apprentice wage subsidy enables more young people to undertake on-the-job training, get paid and gain nationally recognised qualifications, providing tangible opportunities that may not have been available otherwise,” says Ms Kingsford.
“We also see the other end of the scale in our industries, with people in their 30s and 40s successfully taking on an apprenticeship to retrain in a new industry, which is clearly relevant in the situation we now find ourselves in.”
The Government has budgeted $380.6 million for the ‘Apprenticeship Boost’ scheme which was announced on Budget Day.
Work and Income will be responsible for administering the scheme and you can find out more details on their website.
For official government information the Apprenticeship Boost scheme go to the:
A new joint project set up by Te Pūkenga is tasked with ensuring that ākonga/learners are at the centre of the system.
On International Women’s Day Competenz is calling for more women to enter the trades and redress the gender imbalance and pay inequity.
Opal is a manufacturer of corrugated fibre packaging for a wide range of customers in the food, wine, industrial and beverage industries. Bruce Coombe is Opal’s Technical Supervisor and has been with the company for the past 32 years, and a workplace apprentices assessor for Competenz for 20 years.