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The content in this article is based on the Tertiary Education Commission and Work and Income websites and was correct at the time of writing, August 2020.

Investing in the trade’s future

To help assist with New Zealand’s economic recovery, the Government has recently announced that they will be investing in trade training and apprenticeships to help create more job opportunities, and keep Kiwis employed in the trades.

One initiative is a new government subsidy, which will pay employers up to $16,000 for each new apprentice they train up. Another is that trade training courses will now be free of charge, as the Government invests $1.6 billion into vocational training.

Trade training subsidy

The new training subsidy scheme focuses on courses, which are likely to lead to employment in high-demand areas, including regional New Zealand. This will provide new opportunities to thousands of workers, especially those who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Students, industry trainees and apprentices can save about $2,500 to $6,500 annually, ensuring people can gain new skills and get jobs in parts of the economy that are critical to the nation’s economic recovery.

The subsidy will also be available to people who have already started a course, but would continue beyond the start of the funding scheme. All costs for training courses will be paid for by the Government in key industries, including:

  • Agriculture, horticulture and viticulture
  • Fisheries, aquaculture and forestry
  • Construction, including building, plumbing, and civil engineering
  • Community support, including youth work, care for elderly, counselling, mental health and addiction support
  • Manufacturing and mechanical engineering and technology
  • Road transport

Apprentices and students already in training will still be eligible for a partial refund if their training continues beyond 1 July 2020. The Government also expects to be subsidising trade training courses right up until the end of 2022.

This will help create more incentive for people to enter the trades, and ensure there is no skill shortage once the economy recovers.

The fund is available now (from 1 July) and will be administered by the Tertiary Education Commission, at tec.govt.nz.

Two people working in a carpentry workshop 

Apprenticeship subsidy

The $390 million apprenticeship boost will pay businesses $1,000 every month for each apprentice employed in their first year of training, and $500 per month for apprentices in their second year.

It has been created specifically to help businesses that have been hard hit by COVID-19, and to encourage them to take on apprentices. About 18,000 employers will be eligible to apply and the scheme will run for 20 months.

The first two years of an apprenticeship are the most important because that’s when employers have to put the most into their apprentices. Research has shown that apprentices are generally most at risk of being let go during this time, especially if employers are put under financial pressure.

The amount of money employers receive will vary, depending on how far along apprentices are with their training when the subsidy began.

Unlike the Training Subsidy, this scheme will be available to apprenticeships in all fields. It will encourage employers to recruit new apprentices, ensuring that skilled workers are ready to go for New Zealand’s economic recovery.

Find out more

To find out more about the Apprenticeship Support Programme and how to apply, visit workandincome.govt.nz.