No Change to 1998 Training Opportunities Programme

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education

The single agency for employment assistance and income support announced today will have no effect on Training Opportunities Programmes in 1998, according to the Associate Education Minister, Brian Donnelly.

"TOP training providers who have contracts for 1998 will see no change to those contracts as a result of the formation of the new agency," Mr. Donnelly said.

"ETSA will still be responsible for arranging TOP-type training during 1998."

"The Government has no plans to reduce its commitment to training that helps disadvantaged groups and long-term unemployed people into work. TOP funding will not disappear and the thrust of the scheme will remain."

Mr. Donnelly said there will need to be even more good quality training providers and programmes under the new Employment Strategy.

"TOP works very well. Last year 44,000 people took part in TOP, with over half of the people with low qualifications getting jobs or going onto further education following their courses. Maori long-term unemployed and Pacific Island people do particularly well out of the programme."

"The Government has no intention of throwing away the success of TOP and the chance that good quality training provides for the long-term unemployed or people with low qualifications."

As part of the package, $65 million (35%) of the TOP funding will stay within Vote: Education to focus on the needs of 'at risk' 16 and 17 year olds.

"Although the remaining $121 million (65%) of TOP funding will be transferred from ETSA to the new agency from 1 October 1998, the Regional Commissioners will still be required to spend at least $97 million of it on TOP-type training."

"However, they will have the flexibility to spend even more than at present if this is the best type of training to deliver the employment outcomes the Government wants," Mr. Donnelly said.