Essential Information on an Essential Issue
27 March, 2000
- MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS
The government has shown its determination to dramatically increase the numbers of
young people in apprenticeships, after a decline during the 1990s. The Modern Apprenticeships
Scheme, targeted mainly at people aged 1621, will be piloted later this year before going nationwide
in 2001. The government will put $5.5m into the programme which eventually aims to attract
more than 3,000 apprenticeships on an ongoing basis.
PM Helen Clark knows she is on a winner with this scheme ... it was one of the more
popular Labour proposals promoted during last year's election campaign. She also knows that NZ
is currently suffering from a shortage of skilled trades workers in a range of industries ...
something that will worsen with a growing economy. Clark: " The Modern Apprenticeships scheme
will ensure that the issue of skills shortages is tackled head-on ... providing young New
Zealanders with the skills and motivation necessary to succeed."
- How will the scheme work? It addresses the fact that many businesses, particularly
small traders, are reluctant to take on apprenticeships because of the administration costs and
compliance responsibilities as an employer. Under the new scheme, "apprenticeship co-ordinators"
will be employed to recruit and act as mentors to ensure that the apprentices are looked after,
and their training completed.
The scheme is modelled on Apprenticeship Training New Zealand, a not-for-profit
charitable trust. As the apprentices' employer, ATNZ handles all administration, career guidance and
wage issues, and then invoices participating companies for the hours that the apprentices work in
their firms. ATNZ operates mainly in engineering businesses in Auckland and the Hawkes Bay,
and presently has 95 apprentices. Under the new programme, ATNZ will go nationwide, and
become one of many apprenticeship co-ordinators contracted to Skill New Zealand under the
These co-ordinators will be chosen from ITOs, polytechnics, private training
establishments, Maori organisations and community groups. They could limit their activity to placement of
the apprentices, oversight of the training, and mentoring or they could directly employ
apprentices and then hire them out to firms for work-based training.
The co-ordinators will ensure every apprentice trains according to an individualised training
plan, and the learning will cover both industry and generic skills with achievements leading to
nationally recognised qualifications at levels 3 and 4 of the National Qualifications Framework.
- Helen Clark hopes that the co-ordinators will aim to increase the numbers of Maori
and Pacific Island young people in apprenticeships, in light of the government's commitment to
closing the gaps between Maori and Pacific peoples and other New Zealanders. Clark: "Trade
training was traditionally a route for upward mobility for Maori and can be again..."
The focus of the scheme will be on getting young people into skills training. The
government is particularly keen to see the apprenticeship option targeted to school-leavers with
Industry trainee and apprenticeship numbers went up under the previous National
administration: numbers actually doubled over the last ten years. But these apprenticeships have largely
been catering to people in their 20s. While the numbers of those in organised training through
Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) amount to 56,000 people, two thirds of the trainees are aged 25
or over, and in some industries there are high numbers in the forty-plus age group. Only 10% of
the present trainees are aged under 20 years.
Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey points out that, according to the last Census,
a quarter of all 16 and 17-year olds were not in education, training or full-time work.
Maharey: "That's a quarter of our future workforce disappearing out of education, when they should
be taking their next step towards a productive adult life. This has serious implications for
New Zealand's ability to refresh its skills and knowledge as our existing workforce grows older. It
is not overstating the case to say that neglecting the skills development of our young people is
a recipe for disaster. Modern Apprenticeships are a brand new vocational and training pathway
for young people aged 1621. They are going to provide a prestige educational alternative
for young people who want to learn in the workplace..."
Sources The New Zealand Herald 22 March 2000 "Govt to put $5.5m in apprenticeship plan" by Vernon Small; The
Daily News 23 March 2000 "Apprenticeships scheme wins praise" by NZPA; The New Zealand Herald 23 March 2000
"Apprentice scheme a boon for youth" editorial; The Independent 27 March 2000 "An oldie but a goodie: apprenticeships return,
modernised"; Press release from the Employers Federation (Northern) 22 March 2000 "Apprenticeships plan based on
proven model"; Press release from the Employers Federation 22 March 2000 "Employers' Federation gives thumbs up"; Press
release from Industry Training New Zealand 22 March 2000 "Apprenticeships will complement existing training"; Press release
NZ Government 22 March 2000 "Modern apprenticeships tackles skills shortages"; Speech by Steve Maharey to Salvation
Army Employment Plus 22 March 2000 Salvation Army Wellington Corps; Speech by Helen Clark 22 March 2000 "Modern
Apprenticeships plugging the skill gap" breakfast speech to Rotary Club of Port Nicholson;
- APPRENTICES IN PUBLIC SERVICE
The Public Service Association is arguing for the Modern Apprenticeship scheme to
be extended into the public service, and not just be seen as an option for trades and industry.
National secretary Richard Wagstaff welcomes "both the intent and the detail" of the Modern
Apprenticeships scheme and calls for "its philosophy and thrust to be brought into the
public sector." Wagstaff: "We want and need to encourage young people into working in the
public service and seeing it as a valuable and progressive choice of career. The public sector must
again have an important role in the education and training of young New Zealanders, and we are
keen to work with the relevant ministers, the State Services Commission and chief executives to
explore this and get things happening"
Source Press release from Public service Association 22 March 2000 "Apprentices needed in public service"
- VOICES: ON THE MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS
"Our survey of business conditions is recording a steeply rising trend of companies having
difficulty recruiting skilled staff; 33 per cent of our survey's manufacturers registered this issue
last December; 45 per cent in January, with the figure up to about 55 per cent in February.
Government's swift action announced today could therefore help avert a crisis by giving employers
the confidence to take on trainees.
"The new apprenticeship plan could draw fire as expensive at $27 to $29 million over the
next three years, but it is based on a proven, workable model. In fact the new scheme is more
attractive and likely to be cheaper than an alternative approach which would be to give
employers financial incentives to take on new apprentices as it has much more flexibility.
"There are several very positive aspects to the Apprenticeship Training New Zealand
model. Neither the apprentice nor the employer are bound to a work and training contract that may
prove to be unsatisfactory or unsustainable. An example is if a change in market conditions saw a
business facing financial difficulties, the apprentice could switch to another employer to ensure
ongoing training. If an apprentice proves to be incompatible with other employees, a similar
solution could be found. The approach also ensures training can cover a broad range of work skills
and working environments leading to a better education outcome.
"Government's apprentice co-ordinators operating in this manner should go a long way
toward achieving a win/win result for apprentices, employers and the country"
Bruce Goldsworthy, Director of Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern)
"The Employers' Federation gives the thumbs up to the Government's direction on
apprenticeships. The decision to pilot the use of coordinators to help young people into apprenticeships is
a sensible step.
"It is a concern that teenagers make up only 10% of those in apprenticeships. This is not a
problem that is confined to New Zealand there are problems in youth labour markets around
the world, as young, unskilled people are the ones most affected by the trends towards new
technologies and the globalisation of trade.
"The best response to these trends is to work towards upskilling everybody, and getting a
culture of lifelong learning. But young people do need special help to get onto pathways to work
and further learning.
"The use of apprenticeship coordinators will help employers, especially in small enterprises,
to take on young apprentices. It's consistent with the case management approach taken by ACC
and Winz and should help more young people into relevant work training"
Anne Knowles, chief executive Employers Federation
- NAME CHANGE AT THE SALLIES
Name Change at the Sallies. The Salvation Army Training and Employment Programmes
pioneers of the original work schemes in the early 1980s have changed their name for the
new millennium. They will now be known as "Salvation Army Employment Plus".
- SUE BRADFORD'S BILL
Green MP Sue Bradford has drawn up a Members Bill which she is trying to get onto
the parliamentary agenda. She says her Social Security (Work Testing and Community Wage)
Amendment Bill would "...remove some of the harsh coercive measures which have been used by
Work and Income New Zealand to punish and demean New Zealanders receiving benefits".
Bradford's Bill would get rid of the work-for-the-dole scheme, repeal coercive work tests
and stop punitive benefit suspensions. It would also do away with the current 13-week
stand-down period and restore student eligibility for the community wage over the summer holidays. The
Bill would also provide for a $21 per week participation allowance to volunteers who are
genuinely carrying out community work.
Bradford: "Living on a benefit is not a lifestyle choice, as some politicians and senior
management in Winz seem to think. It is in fact, a limiting and onerous existence. Those who find
themselves on a benefit deserve the unreserved assistance and support of all Winz staff, and this Bill will
help assure that they get it..."
Source Press release from The Green Party 23 March 2000 "Sue Bradford's Member Bill To Restore Dignity to
- TRAINING PROVIDERS FEELING THE SQUEEZE
Private training providers are feeling the cashflow squeeze as they wait for Winz
payments for their courses. In some cases, training providers are three months behind in receiving
their payments. The problem: delays in processing student loan applications, which need to be
finalised before Winz pays institutions their course fees.
Tricia Henderson of Tricia's Total Coordination says her firm is owed close to $1m ...
which would be critical if the firm did not otherwise have a decent cashflow. Henderson says that
other training providers are getting "very very edgy" as money owed by Winz fails to materialise.
The Independent estimates that 200 training institutions are caught in the cashflow problems, and
they could be owed $100m or more.
- Winz pins the blame on inefficient administration by the training providers and students
not filling out their forms properly. Winz student services manager Lorraine Williams: "The
majority of applications that are not finalised are either awaiting a contract to be returned from the
student and/or further information, or awaiting verification details from the institution. Until this
information is returned, the application cannot be finalised ... therefore the institution cannot be
Margaret Yates, an executive member of the NZ Association of Private Training Providers,
says that while not every provider is functioning perfectly, information has sometimes been provided
to Winz several times and still gets misplaced.
Source The Independent 15 March 2000 "Trainers say Winz delays are putting them out of business" by Rob O'Neill.
- TAX BREAKS FOR RESEARCH
The Employers and Manufacturers Association are lobbying government to provide
more tax breaks for research and development spending. The Association argues that many more
jobs would have been created in the last three years if tax breaks were available, and
recommends increasing the tax deductibility of private R&D to 125%, and expanding the public R&D
programmes already in place.
The EMA Central region recently surveyed 258 members on research spending and got
responses from 132 businesses. These companies combined annual turnover was $4.1 billion, including
$2 billion from exports, and they employed 16,000 people. The survey found that if companies
had been able to tax deduct research and development spending at 125%, they would have spent
17% more and created up to 580 more jobs in the past three years.
- A spokesman for the Minister of Economic Development, Jim Anderton, says that
the government is looking at several proposals on tax deductibility. Expect an announcement in
the next Budget.
Source The Dominion 21 February 2000 "Tax breaks for research urged to create jobs" by Andrea Fox
- MINING INDUSTRY CALLS FOR GOVT SUPPORT
The mining industry is also lobbying government, saying it could create another 12,000
jobs many of them in the regions if policies were amended to encourage industry growth.
The NZ Minerals Industry Association says that a more vibrant mining sector has the potential
to generate a GDP contribution to NZ equivalent to more than the entire fishing industry.
Douglas Gordon, Association executive director: "The government is pushing for economic
development, and we can contribute quite significantly to that goal..."
Gordon reports that the mining industry has drawn up a national strategy which identifies
the "barriers to growth". The Association wants a government-industry partnership that
encourages more research and development, and it also wants changes to policies governing access
to Crown-owned minerals on private and public land.
The Association is calling on government to raise current spending on mining and minerals
research from the current $3m annually to $26m a year. In turn, the industry would increase
its current investment levels from $15m to $60m annually. Gordon: "There's little point in
industry upping its commitment under current conditions. We need a legislative environment that
will make that investment worthwhile..."
Source "Mining Industry could create 12,000 new jobs" 23 February 2000 press release from NZ Minerals
- TIME USE SURVEY
To mark the occasion of International Womens Day, the Ministry of Womens Affairs
and Statistics NZ have released some selected results from the upcoming Time Use Survey report.
The Time Use Survey will show how unpaid work, (including childcare, care for the
elderly, household work, and voluntary community work) impacts on the New Zealand economy.
Advocates for the survey, including university lecturer and development consultant Marilyn
Waring, argue that the value of this work has been largely ignored in our national finances.
The survey has collected time-use information which identifies the time commitments of
population groups such as men, women, Maori, non-Maori, the employed, the unemployed, urban
or rural dwellers. The information in the Time Use Survey will be used to improve public
sector policy-making and programme development in the health, employment and welfare sectors.
Some of the main findings released so far include:
Men in all age groups spend more time on paid work than women, but women do a
daily average of two hours more unpaid work.
Men usually working less than 20 hours a week do less unpaid work than men who
work longer hours.
Maori women and men both spend more time than non-Maori on unpaid work outside
the home - an average of 39 minutes per day compared to the 31 minutes of non-Maori.
Women who usually work 30 or more hours a week in paid employment and have a
pre-school child, work an average of 5.0 paid hours a day over a seven-day week. They also
spend 5.0 hours a day on unpaid work and have 2.8 hours of free time.
Men whose usual hours of paid work are 30 or more, work 6.9 hours a day on
average when they have a pre-school child, spend 3.0 hours on unpaid work and have 3.2 hours of
Rural people do more paid work at home than urban people - 32 per cent of rural
people's paid work is done at home compared to 9 per cent of urban people's.
Rural people do more of their labour force activity in the weekends than urban people.
More men than women work long hours in paid work. Of all the daily records for men,
16 per cent recorded labour force activity of 10 hours or more. The proportion increased to 25
per cent in the 35-54 age group. This compares to the average 5 per cent for women of all ages.
Paid workers spend an average of 44 minutes travelling to and from work each day.
Workers on higher incomes spend more time travelling to work than those on lower incomes.
Source "Time Use Survey: Selecvted Labour Market results" press release Ministry
of Womens Affairs and Statistics NZ 7 March 2000
- BRITISH CHANCELLOR CLAIMS JOBS FOR ALL
The British Chancellor Gordon Brown claimed earlier this month that Britain now
has enough work available for every job seeker in the country. The British Treasury has used
the "claimant" count figures the number of people registered as claiming unemployment benefit
to show that in January the number of vacancies in the economy (1m) was almost equal to
the number of unemployed people (1.1m).
The Trades Union Congress has cried foul over this "full employment" claim ... saying that
Labour had formerly promised to use the Household Labour Force Survey statistics as it is a
more accurate measure of unemployment because the survey counts not only those who say they
are actively looking for work but also those who say they want a job. The TUC says that, using
these figures, the real situation is that in Britain there are four people who want a job for every vacancy.
Gordon Brown, who has set himself a target of "full employment", used the Treasury figures
to step up pressure on the jobless to move to areas where there is work. Brown: "I say to the
unemployed who can work: you must now meet your responsibility to earn a wage..."
As part of the government's campaign, thousands of mobile phones will be handed out in
"unemployment blackspots" to enable job centres to notify unemployed youngsters the moment a
vacancy arises. Brown also plans to draw up a multimillion-pound scheme to provide
subsidised transport for jobseekers who find work.
Source The Guardian Weekly 9 March 2000 "Unions dispute Brown's claims that there are jobs for all" by Larry
Elliott and Charlotte Denny
- US JAILS TWO MILLIONTH INMATE
Vigils have been held in more than 30 cities in the United States last month to draw
attention to the arrival of the country's two millionth jail inmate. November Coalition, an alliance
of civil rights campaigners, justice policy workers and drug law reformers want to draw attention
to what they feel is a disturbing trend for locking up ever more offenders in the US, most of
The US comprises 5% of the global population yet is responsible for 25% of the world's
prisoners. The November Coalition says it has a higher proportion of its citizens in jail than any
other country in history. The US prison industry employs more than 523,000 people ... making it
the country's biggest employer after General Motors. The cost of building jails has averaged $7bn
a year for the past decade, and the annual bill for incarcerating prisoners is up to $35bn. Of
those held in federal rather than state prisons, 60% are drug offenders with no history of violence.
"Two million is too many" is the theme of the coalition's campaign, which is calling for
alternatives to prison for the country's 500,000 non-violent drug offenders. Says Nora Callahan from
the Coalition: "We are calling on state and federal governments to stop breaking up families
and destroying our communities. Prison is not the solution to every social problem..."
Source The Guardian Weekly 23 February 2000 "US jails two millionth inmate"
- FOLLOW-UP TO SEATTLE PROTESTS
The activist and protest groups that paralysed downtown Seattle last November during
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) conference are planning further protests against "unjust"
global economic institutions. They plan to converge of Washington on April 16 to disrupt a joint
meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The activists aim to keep alive what they call "the Spirit of Seattle" in using the occasion to
lobby politicians, hold educational events and to stage peaceful demonstrations. They are hoping
many thousands of people will travel to Washington, where some activists will also attempt to
"shut down" the meeting by non-violent means, with many willing to be arrested.
Jubilee 2000-USA, part of a worldwide movement pressing for lending institutions such
as the World Bank and the IMF to forgive the debt of the world's poorest countries, plans to stage
a peaceful human-chain event in Washington on April 9th, the Sunday before the meeting begins.
Source Washington Post 26 January 2000 "Protestors at WTO plan follow-up"
- GAVIN ELLIS ON 100 DAYS
Media Watch: 100 Days of Optimism. The
New Zealand Herald has given generous coverage to the first 100 days of the Labour/Alliance coalition government, with a weekend
special edition entitled "100 days that lifted our spirits", and describing "a new mood of optimism
sweeping the country". A Herald Digipoll on the State of the Nation reveals strong public support for
a more hands-on approach to job creation, with 62.7% of NZ'ers giving support to Jim
Anderton's plans to use taxpayer money to create jobs. The survey also shows that NZ'ers now rate
unemployment/employment as equal with education as the most important issues facing the country.
Gavin Ellis, Herald editor-in-chief, in an essay in the special edition, argues that the
single biggest factor in moulding NZ's collective future will be the way the government perceives
shared values and social equity. He says that the key to change will be acceptance that, at the
beginning of the 21st century, social equity should not be defined by the social structures that were
the product of the 19th century.
Ellis: "The government can play the leading role in redefining our social expectations. It can
point to new social structures and new approaches to the way we work and live. It could begin,
for example, by asking a simple question: what is work? The answer may revise traditional
concepts of employer and employee and usher in the age of the freelance entrepreneur. The
electronic environment can create a whole new breed of productive people who do not fit neatly into
existing definitions of work and employment..."
Source New Zealand Herald 18 March 2000 "State of the Nation : 100 days that lifted our spirits" by Vernon Small
and Theresa Garner; "Renaissance or just a few repairs" essay by Gavin Ellis Editor-in-Chief.
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