More funding and focus on apprenticeships is the right approach.
The revamped New Zealand Apprenticeships Scheme announced by Prime Minister John Key on January 25 will help get more people into needed skill areas.
More overall funding, higher requirements for educational content and financial incentives to enter into apprenticeships are useful changes.
Higher incentive payments for priority construction trades will particularly help get the skills needed for the Christchurch rebuild.
It is vital that these changes in apprenticeships are executed well.
Employers want quality apprenticeship training.
Allowing employers to get direct access to industry training funding to organise their apprenticeships if desired, will bring competitive pressures on ITOs and help build on their higher performance in recent months.
Past problems in the system that resulted in waste and large numbers of ‘phantom trainees’ have been robustly addressed by recent work in this area and by the changes just announced.
BusinessNZ strongly recommended that savings from fixing the problem should be reinvested in industry training and it is pleasing to see this happening.
Under the new scheme, increased focus on higher educational content must complement, not replace, practical elements of the training.
Training programmes should be fit for purpose, with the ability to hold ITOs, training providers, employers and trainees to account.
It is important for government agencies and ITOs to work together with industry to ensure that these changes enhance the value of training for employers and employees.
Phil O’Reilly is the Chief Executive of BusinessNZ based in Wellington