Prime Minister Helen Clark and Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones today announced a significant government capital injection into Northland Polytechnic.
Helen Clark and Shane Jones said that $3.5 million (GST exclusive) had been agreed to by the Labour-led Government for the polytechnic to develop a new trades training facility.
As well, an existing Crown loan of $5.001 million will be converted to an equity investment by way of a suspensory loan over a five year period.
Helen Clark said that NorthTec is committed to a Future Trades project to increase its capacity to provide much needed skills for the Northland economy.
“A recent survey of industry in Northland revealed that 22 per cent of employers had recruited workers from overseas in 2007, compared to only nine per cent in 2004.
“The marine engineering sector alone has established a requirement for an additional 1200 workers by 2012.
“It is imperative that NorthTec is able to increase its contribution to trades training, so that Northlanders have an opportunity to acquire the skills which the local economy needs.
“To do that, NorthTec badly needs new training facilities. Its current teaching spaces lack the required technology and are not well configured for modern teaching methods.
“The Government’s new capital investment will enable NorthTec to lease and develop an offsite facility, and increase the quality of its teaching and its student numbers in trades training,” Helen Clark said.
Helen Clark said that NorthTec has an ongoing programme of campus development beyond the trades training facilities, and is expected to seek further capital investment from Government through the Tertiary Education Commission’s Capital Fund.
“The proposal to develop a new trades training facility, however, is considered urgent by both the Government and NorthTec, and has been advanced as a high priority by Government ahead of consideration of other parts of NorthTec’s business case for campus redevelopment,” Helen Clark said.
Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones welcomed the government’s announcement as a significant investment in Northland’s future – both through upskilling local people and through meeting local industry needs.
“The new trades training facility will be larger and more modern, and it will allow NorthTec to centralise its trades training at one location from the beginning of next year.
“Northland has a growing industry base – including a world renowned boat-building sector and the Marsden refinery. Its big and small industries are calling for a more skilled local workforce to meet their future needs, and NorthTec has a big role to play in meeting those needs,” Shane Jones said.