On 14 May the Government unveiled a $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package as part of Budget 2020. The focus is on jobs – retaining jobs and training for priority jobs in line with the Government’s wider Budget objective to rebuild the economy after the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.
With specific details to be released, the package includes:
- $334m funding for additional tertiary education enrolments
- $320m targeted investment support for free trades training in critical industries (building and construction, agriculture, and manufacturing, community health, counselling and care work). The fund will be available from 1 July 2020.
- $412m support for employers to retain and keep training their apprentices
- $276m funding for Workforce Development Councils and Regional Skills Leadership groups, to be established to give industry and regions a greater voice and help them respond to COVID-19
- $141m to support high quality tertiary and trades education
- $32m increased funding to meet demand in Trades Academies
- $50m for a Māori Apprenticeships Fund
- $19m for group training schemes to retain apprentices
- $26m operating and capital for a new online careers advice system
- An extension to the wage subsidy scheme.
MITO’s chief executive Janet Lane congratulates the Government for their faith and foresight in rebuilding the economy through these education and training initiatives. She says, “this is a lifeline that will pay dividends for NZ Inc. We know from past experience the impact of recessions on our workforces and the resulting skills shortages that take years to recover.”
EXTENSION TO WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME
The Budget includes a targeted extension of the wage subsidy scheme. From 10 June, businesses that have suffered, or expect to suffer, revenue loss of at least 50% for the 30-day period prior to the application date, versus the nearest comparable period last year, will be eligible for the extension of the scheme. The subsidy will be open for applications for 12 weeks and will be paid as an 8-week lump sum to employers at the same weekly rates as the current scheme.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COUNCILS FAST-TRACKED
The establishment of the six Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) originally mandated to occur by 30 June 2021 has been fast-tracked to be formed by October this year. The Government has stated that fast-tracking all six WDCs will ensure that they are an integral part of the designing the response to COVID-19 and that their influence in the vocational education and training system will become more immediate.
The primary role of each interim Establishment Board will be to establish the WDC as a legal entity. Where possible, they will work with transitional Industry Training Organisations, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology and other providers to provide advice and guidance to inform tertiary education system responses to COVID-19 impacts.
The Tertiary Education Commission is seeking Expressions of Interest from industry leaders between Monday 18 May and 2 June, to form the interim Establishment Board for each of the six WDCs. All six interim Establishment Boards will be appointed by the Commission in June.