Support for 55 new apprentices

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Fifty-five new apprentices are now being supported in Mid-South Canterbury and North Otago, just 14 weeks after the Regional Apprenticeship Initiative kicked into action.

Most of the new apprenticeships are in the construction-related sector.

More than a third of the apprentices are school leavers, 14 are Maori or Pasifika, seven were either unemployed or had lost jobs due to Covid and three are young women.

Importantly, the initiative has also enabled businesses to retain other staff by starting them on an apprenticeship or developing their supervisory skills.

The Regional Apprenticeship Initiative is being administered in the region by Venture Timaru on behalf of the Provincial Development Unit, and chief executive Nigel Davenport has been overwhelmed by the quick uptake of the initiative by the region’s businesses.

“It proves there is a need here for our businesses and even better, that the initiative is doing exactly what the Government hoped it would achieve for this region by both supporting our businesses to put people into jobs and retaining valuable skills,” he said.

Under the scheme, businesses receive financial assistance to support them and the new apprentices to successfully maintain the apprenticeships through to completion. This support includes funding for wage subsidies, training, tools and equipment, pastoral care and business support.

The Government has allocated $4million of funding for up to 100 apprenticeships in the central South Island region within the priority sectors of primary, construction (including electrical), manufacturing, mechanical engineering and wood processing.

Brad Sandri, of Ranger Specialist Coatings, said the initiative had helped him take on two great new female apprentices, to join the five female apprentices he already employed.

“I have also been able to employ a young fella referred to me from MSD [Ministry of Social Development]. All three are full on into their apprenticeships now, are all doing well and I’m just rapt.

“The support has been very well received and is targeted exactly where it needs to be in productive busy sectors such as the trades.”

Heather Hellmrich, of High Country Carpentry, said the business had been able to take on a new apprentice whose work situation had changed due to Covid-19.

“We originally thought how we could possibly take on a new employee in such a challenging year, but the timing was fantastic knowing there was support funding available to make this happen.

“The future is exciting for our apprentice and us, as we are thrilled to be able to secure a vibrant new young person for our team.”

Mr Davenport said Venture Timaru was keen to hear from some of those smaller businesses – those that might normally consider taking on an apprentice.

“This support can be a game-changer to both take on a new apprentice or retain and upskill someone who is already working for them.

“There’s a link on our website that has all the information, application process and the courses that the funding covers. If anyone is uncertain if they qualify for the funding, they can call us to find out more.”Sport mediaNike News