The Budget’s focus on skills to rebuilding Christchurch is well-placed, says BusinessNZ.
Budget funding for trades training for the Canterbury region announced today includes more construction-related places to be available at polytechs and other training institutions.
It also includes using ‘commitment to training’ as a criterion for businesses gaining government reconstruction contracts, and a stop-gap provision for employers to import high-skilled workers if New Zealanders can’t be trained in time.
BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says this is a balanced response by the Government.
“Dedicated funding for construction training sends the message that skills are a critical part of the rebuild.
“Incentivising training by business by making it a criterion for gaining government reconstruction contracts is useful as it helps to make businesses part of the skills solution.
“And being able to import high-skilled workers where New Zealanders can’t be trained in time is sensible, although we probably need the leeway to import semi-skilled people also, given the critical scarcity of skills at all levels in the construction sector.
“This approach could be usefully extended to the construction sector nation-wide, as the scarcity of building skills is not just a Canterbury problem.”