Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development
Reprioritised funding of $40 million from the Provincial Growth Fund will support up to 1000 regional apprenticeships, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today.
The Regional Apprenticeship Initiative is part of the wider Apprenticeship Boost announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni yesterday.
“The Regional Apprenticeship Initiative will provide a funding boost for the regions and will ensure the pipeline of skilled workers the regional economies will need in the future is maintained. It will also help apprentices to stay connected to their communities,” Shane Jones said.
The initial focus of the scheme will be on helping workers displaced by the effects of COVID-19 as well as Māori and Pacific peoples, but once that initial need has been met the fund will be open to all regional apprentices and employers.
It is hoped the funding will be largely paid out in the first six months, provided much-needed economic stimulus to businesses and security of employment during a critical recovery time for the regions.
“It is vital for the regions and their people that employers are supported to offer apprenticeships and that new apprentices are confident they can train and not be adversely affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19,” Shane Jones said.
The initiative allows for up to $40,000 of support per apprentice. This includes a wage subsidy of up to $16,000 for the first year of training and up to $8000 for the second year. It also includes additional funding to help with other business support and pastoral care so the employer and apprentice can successfully maintain the apprenticeship.
Employers must top up their funding to ensure apprentices are paid at least the relevant minimum wage or the training wage and not be accessing a wage subsidy or other similar apprenticeship support from any other source.