The Motor Trade Association says extending the Apprenticeship Boost scheme until the end of next year is brilliant news for the automotive industry.
“We’ve been making the case to Government for Apprenticeship Boost to continue for many months,” MTA Advocacy Manager Greig Epps says.
“It has enabled many businesses in our sector to take on an apprentice successfully, which means more young New Zealanders in employment and support for businesses at a tough time during the Covid pandemic.
“It’s more important than ever that this continues. Our membership certainly agrees.”
In a survey MTA carried out of members last year:
- 42 members said that Apprenticeship Boost helped them to employ a new apprentice
- 36 said it helped them to retain existing ones
- 30 said that it was essential to support their employment decision.
MTA wrote to Education Minister Chris Hipkins twice and Finance Minister Grant Robertson to argue the case for Apprenticeship Boost.
“We know we haven’t been the only voice in the Government’s ear about this,” Greig says.
“We know the building industry has also benefitted. It’s great that the Government has listened, especially at a time when difficult decisions need to be made.”
While Apprenticeship Boost was originally conceived as relief from Covid pressures, MTA says the demand for apprentices has not diminished – if anything it has grown.
It can take up to two years for an apprentice to start contributing fully to a business. Financial costs are the biggest obstacle to a business wanting to provide apprentice training. Apprenticeship Boost has enabled employers to retain and take on new apprentices without fear of financial hardship.
MTA says it’s disappointing that the amount of the subsidy has been reduced to $500 a month, but it will still help employers find a place for an apprentice on their books.
“Vocational education doesn’t always get the best deal – it’s referred to as the ‘forgotten classroom’ for that reason,” Greig says.
“We’re stoked it hasn’t been forgotten this time.”