Support for trainees and apprenticeships

The government has announced a $380.6 million initiative to help keep apprentices in work. Apprenticeship Boost will support up to 36,000 apprentices per year (including new apprentices), by providing a subsidy to around 18,000 employers.

This Initiative is part of a wider Apprenticeship Support Programme designed to keep apprentices connected to work, connected to training and connected to their communities while New Zealand recovers from the impact of COVID-19.

Apprentice Support Programme - Work and Income

Apprenticeships are a key part of our skills pipeline. They create highly skilled practitioners within a particular industry and provide good long-term employment outcomes for the apprentice, often in skill shortage areas, such as electricians.

It is therefore essential to ensure that the jobs of existing apprentices are secure and that new apprentices continue to start training throughout the recovery from COVID-19.

The Apprenticeship Support Programme covers:

  • Apprenticeship Boost – a broad-based wage subsidy for employers to help them keep existing apprentices and employ new ones.
  • Mana in Mahi – expanding the existing programme that supports at-risk people through an industry training pathway (including apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training) and into long term sustainable work.
  • Group Training Scheme support – funding to ensure the existing seven schemes remain viable by enabling them to continue to employ apprentices and trainees and provide related services to host businesses.
  • Regional Apprenticeships Initiative – support for displaced regional apprentices who have lost their jobs, initially focusing on Māori and Pacific Peoples (funded through the Provincial Growth Fund).

Employers would be able to access support from either Apprenticeship Boost, Mana in Mahi, or the Regional Apprenticeships Initiative (depending on the type of apprentice or pre-apprentice trainee they employ).

All employers who have an eligible apprentice will be able to receive a base subsidy rate up to $12,000 per annum ($1,000 per month) for first year apprentices and up to $6,000 per annum ($500 per month) for second year apprentices through the Apprentice Boost. Mana in Mahi and some Regional Apprenticeships participants will get a higher subsidy to reflect the different level of need of the individual apprentices (or pre-apprentice trainees) involved.

To be eligible, the apprentice has to be enrolled in a TEC-approved New Zealand Apprenticeship or Managed Apprenticeship programme. These will be level 4 and at least 120 credits.

The Group Training Scheme Fund is different in design to other initiatives within the Programme as it is geared to maintaining the viability of seven schemes.  The apprentices involved in a Group Training Scheme may also be eligible to attract support from other initiatives, such as the ABI or Mana in Mahi to contribute to their wage costs.

Other initiatives underway to help people stay in and find employment and training include:

  • $320 million Targeted training and apprenticeship fund which will make a range of training and apprenticeship programmes at sub degree level free for learners from 1 July 2020. For more detail, visit Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund.
  • Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE), which will create a strong, unified, and sustainable system for vocational education. It will be more joined up, easier to navigate for learners and includes greater oversight and coordinating roles for industry and regional economies. As part of Budget 2020 the work to establish Workforce Development Councils and the Regional Skills Leadership Groups have been accelerated to strengthen the voice of industry and regions in our vocational education system.
  • Careers support for learners and workers to plan and manage their careers throughout their lifetime, and help them understand their transferable skills.

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