POLITICS

$50-million hole in Key's apprenticeship plan

Wednesday 30 January 2013, 7:08PM
By Labour Party
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The Government's johnny-come-lately plan to increase the number of apprentices has a more than $50 million hole in it, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Training Spokesperson.

"While most people have welcomed National's belated conversion to the need for apprenticeships, they have left a $50 million hole in the plan. Nowhere in the announcements made last week by John Key was any indication of how they will pay for the basic cost of training the additional apprenticeships they are planning to offer.

"Steven Joyce confirmed in Parliament today that the $106 million for the package announced last week does not include the basic training cost for the additional 14,000 apprentices over five years they are promising. Using the Government's own figures this means that there is a $58 million hole in the plan.

"All the funding in the announcement was for changing funding rates and providing incentives for people to become apprentices. Nothing has been budgeted for the actual cost of training the extra apprentices that have been promised.

"This makes the promise of 14,000 extra apprentices nothing more than a pipe dream. There is no guarantee that the Government will follow through on this. The training sector will be wondering if there are going to be cuts elsewhere to fund these apprenticeships.

"Given National's record on apprenticeships, New Zealanders have every right to be wary. Since 2009 there has been a 20% drop in the number of Modern Apprentices and a 37% drop in the number of industry trainees.

“National has dropped the ball for four years on apprentices and now can't even do its sums on their much vaunted package," Grant Robertson says.