More than 100,000 people have accessed free trades training

  • Apprenticeship Boost support for businesses also popular, with over 21,000 apprentices benefiting.

New Zealanders are flocking to the trades with more than 100,000 learners signing up for free vocational training and apprenticeships under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF), says Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“The latest enrolment data shows 106,600 people have taken advantage of free trades training since we introduced TTAF in July 2020, including more than 58,000 apprentices,” Chris Hipkins said.

“One third of TTAF learners are in the construction sector with the next most popular areas primary industries (18%) and community support (17%). Once qualified these workers will help support New Zealand’s efforts to recover from COVID-19 and develop our economy in years to come.

“The Government introduced TTAF in July 2020 and it makes a range of qualifications in targeted areas and all apprenticeships free until 31 December 2022.

“Targeted areas include primary industries, construction, community support, manufacturing and mechanical engineering and technology, electrical engineering, road transport (vehicle operations), conservation, and information technology.

“We know as a result of COVID-19, many New Zealanders are looking to retrain and gain new skills, and employers in key sectors will need more skilled people.

“It’s great to see strong interest from across the community, with 19 per cent of TTAF learners identifying as Māori, 9 per cent Pacific and 13 per cent Asian. Women are also looking at trades as a career with 7,420 female apprentices, about 13 per cent of all TTAF apprentices.

“TTAF is designed not just for school leavers but for people in a range of circumstances and stages of their lives. People have taken that on board with nearly a quarter aged 40 and over. Overall about two thirds of those studying using TTAF are 25 years of age and older.”

Apprenticeship Boost

“As well as our free training for learners, we are backing employers to keep apprentices in work and continue their training, supporting our economy to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Apprenticeship Boost helps employers keep early stage apprentices on during tough times, when they’re still developing the skills for the job. It’s important that apprentices have additional security when times are tough, especially when they are getting established in a job and training for a new career.

“Apprenticeship Boost provides employers up to $1000 a month for first year apprentices and $500 a month for second year ones. Since Apprenticeship Boost was rolled out in August 2020, over 10,000 employers have signed up and received almost $97 million in subsidies for over 21,000 apprentices.

“Across the board, apprenticeships are becoming much more popular, which is great news. Over 15,000 apprentices commenced in the second half of 2020 compared to nearly 7,000 in the second half of 2019, an increase of 125%,” Chris Hipkins said.