Government’s free trades training proving popular

By: Shannon Williams

More than 100,000 people have signed up for free vocational training and apprenticeships under the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund

The latest enrolment data shows 106,600 people have taken advantage of free trades training since the Labour government introduced TTAF in July 2020, including more than 58,000 apprentices.

A third of those were in the construction sector, with the next most popular areas primary industries (18%) and community support (17%).

"Once qualified, these workers will help support New Zealand’s efforts to recover from COVID-19 and develop our economy in years to come," says education minister Chris Hipkins.

"We know as a result of COVID-19, many New Zealanders are looking to retrain and gain new skills, and employers in key sectors will need more skilled people."

The TTAF makes a range of qualifications in targeted areas and all apprenticeships free until 31 December 2022. Targeted areas include primary industries, construction, community support, manufacturing and mechanical engineering and technology, electrical engineering, road transport (vehicle operations), conservation, and information technology. As part of the programme, the Government provides employers support to keep apprentices in work, via the Apprenticeship Boost.

Chris Hipkins
Chris Hipkins

The initiative provides employers up to $1000 a month for first-year apprentices and $500 a month for second-year ones.

Since Apprenticeship Boost was rolled out in August 2020, more than 10,000 employers had signed up and received almost $97m in subsidies for more than 21,000 apprentices.

"As well as our free training for learners, we are backing employers to keep apprentices in work and continue their training, supporting our economy to recover from the impacts of Covid-19," the minister says.

"Apprenticeship Boost helps employers keep early-stage apprentices on during tough times, when they’re still developing the skills for the job.

"It’s important that apprentices have additional security when times are tough, especially when they are getting established in a job and training for a new career."

Apprenticeships were becoming more popular, with more than 15,000 apprentices commenced in the second half of 2020 compared to nearly 7000 in the second half of 2019, an increase of 125%.

​​The minister says there was strong interest from across the community, with 19% TTAF learners identifying as Maori, 9% Pacific and 13% Asian. Approximately 13% of TTAF apprentices were women, with 7420 female apprentices.

"TTAF is designed not just for school leavers but for people in a range of circumstances and stages of their lives," ​the minister says.

"People have taken that on board with nearly a quarter aged 40 and over. Overall​,​ about two-thirds of those studying using TTAF are 25 years of age and older."

Find trucks for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook