In recent months the government announced a hugely important commitment to apprenticeships, signalling a change to the historically poor investment in this area in comparison to the support provided to tertiary study.

The 2020 Budget allocated $1.6 billion to trades and apprenticeship training, the biggest investment ever, which is being welcomed by the entire trades sector. The funding will provide employers with far greater certainty that apprentices will finish their training and provide skills back to the industry in the future.

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This sort of headline-grabbing stimulation serves to ignite the public interest in trades. It is hoped that amongst current COVID-19 related uncertainty there will be a myriad of eager Kiwis wanting to step up to the plate and be part of a fundamentally important, ever-growing industry.


The allocation included $320 million earmarked for the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF; also referred to as Free Trades Training). This fund sees $45 – $55 each week for those undertaking training in specific* trades. The amount is paid directly to the provider to cover the costs of education, meaning the student/apprentice will be able to upskill with less financial burden.

The allocation provides a further $380 million for apprenticeship subsidy, paying employers $1,000 per month for each apprentice in their first year, and $500 per month in their second year. Effective for 20 months from August 2020, the funding focus is on getting new blood into trades.

Quoted – “Maintaining and supporting trade training is vital – it is a long-term investment in people and the businesses they support,” says Apprenticeship Training Trust Chief Executive Helen Stephens. “For many apprentices, this is a lifeline to continue, while for others it will make their apprenticeship more manageable – it depends on
the individual and their circumstances. It will help bring stability to host businesses as extra financial help means an apprentice is more likely to stay working and qualify.” “While (the announcement) came amidst uncertainty, it reflects a longer-term need, and one the NZ Group Training Alliance has been talking to the Government about for some time,” Ms Stephens continued.

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Even prior to COVID-19 the construction industry has experienced a shortage of skilled workers, while there continues to be a strong demand for housing and infrastructure. This package of spending will help to alleviate that challenge, as well as offering opportunities at a time when job losses in some sectors are a reality.

Quoted – “The age profile of prospective apprentices is rising now, with more applicants in their mid to late twenties and early thirties,” says Stephens. “This is a good thing as it brings more age diversity and will attract different people from different backgrounds. Host businesses often say they like apprentices with some life

This funding provides toward the upskilling of a workforce that will have potential careers in the industry 30-40 years into the future. No matter the economic environment, there will always be a need for trades.

If you’re considering a career in the trades, our team are well equipped to talk you through the path ahead.
Get in contact today.

*A list of current qualifications and programmes can be found on the Tertiary Education Commission website

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