by Chris Tobin
Venture Timaru has received $4million in Government funding for 100 new construction industry apprenticeships in Mid-South Canterbury and North Otago.
“Venture Timaru is thrilled to have been appointed the third party administrator for the Government’s regional apprenticeship initiative (RAI),” chief executive Nigel Davenport said.
“We’ve been working with local industry and [the] Government on this for over two months and hopefully will be in a position to accept applications soon.
“We await the funding contact from the Government before we can start accepting applications.
“We have been working closely with the RAI priority sectors to identify likely apprentice numbers and these are reflective of the strength of our central South Island economy and the desire of our businesses to take on new apprentices.
The ability of local businesses to access central government funding from Venture Timaru meant this support could get to where it was needed most quickly as possible, he said.
The funding announcement came last week from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, who said up to 350 more people in regional New Zealand would gain a pathway to trades training through a $14million Government investment in apprenticeships.
The apprenticeships are part of the $40million regional apprenticeship initiative that was announced in June.
The funding came from the Provincial Growth Fund and would be used to support up to 1000 regional apprenticeships in total, Mr Jones said.
“The first five schemes, which were worth just over $12million for 300 apprenticeships, were announced in July and now I am announcing another six.
“Together these 11 apprenticeship schemes have put us just over the halfway mark and well on track to achieve the whole $40million allocated before Christmas,” Mr Jones said.
Other regional apprenticeship schemes announced last week will be run by KiwiRail, Northpower, Aukaha, Norwood and Fonterra.
KiwiRail will receive $4million for a national programme for up to 100 people entering apprenticeships leading to careers in the rail industry, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electricity supply, rail operations, building, structures and track infrastructure.
The funding will provide development opportunities for new and current staff to promote careers in the rail industry.
Norwood will receive $480,000 over two years to support up to 12 people to enter automotive heavy engineering apprenticeships and gain relevant level 4 qualifications.