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Govt initiative supporting 10 apprentices here

A total of $400,000 has been invested into boosting the number of people taking up apprenticeships here via the Regional Apprenticeships Initiative (RAI).

This figure and the 10 apprentices it is supporting has been confirmed by the Provincial Development Unit, which manages the RAI.

The initiative was established as part of a wider Government Covid-19 support package that includes the Apprenticeship Boost programme, administered by the Ministry of Social Development, and the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund, administered by the Tertiary Education Commission.

“The RAI supports new apprentices and their employers across a range of sectors in regional New Zealand. The scheme's priorities include supporting Maori and Pasifika and those who lost work due to Covid-19,” a PDU spokesman said.

“Submissions for RAI funding were taken directly from organisations, with priority given to those working in the primary sector, construction, manufacturing, engineering and wood processing industries, as well as third-party service providers (who support employers and potential apprentices).

“Up to $40,000 is allocated per apprentice, which covers support for wage subsidies (through the Apprenticeship Support Programme), and business support or pastoral care needs employers encounter while working with apprentices.

“In the Tairawhiti/Gisborne area, the RAI currently supports 10 apprenticeships. This investment totals $400,000.”

All 10 apprentices identify as Maori and eight are aged under 25. The apprentices are training as shepherds, builders in the construction and infrastructure industry, as well as electrical linesmen.

Of those, eight apprentices are supported by Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa which acts as a third-party provider delivering apprenticeship brokering services. The two other apprentices are supported by the Tradeup Ltd Regional Apprenticeship Programme, a third-party provider that delivers apprenticeship brokering services across the North Island (excluding Auckland and Wellington).

“While the 10 current Tairawhiti apprentices are engaged by third-party providers, it is also worth noting that a number of organisations (such as KiwiRail) are also funded by the RAI scheme to provide apprenticeship programmes within their businesses, which targets participants from all over regional New Zealand,” the spokesman said.

“At the moment there are no apprentices in the Tairawhiti area working directly with organisations in this way, but more new apprentices continue to be enrolled and trained through RAI-supported programmes.”