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Record numbers sign up for apprenticeships at Local Polytechnics

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Its good news for trades like plumbing and drain laying as thousands take up the governments fees free initiative.

The number of people signing up for apprenticeships has doubled to 17,000 after the government in June made them fees free for the next two-and-a-half years.

Ara manager of Electrical and Plumbing trades Sean Flanagan said demand was stronger than ever from those looking to make a mid-life career change.

“Normally, we still have quite a few spaces leading up to Christmas and they’d be filled around Christmas or just after. At this stage we are pretty well full for next year. So we’re looking at ways that we can actually address those issues and take more students.”

Employers were also benefiting.

Up to 18,000 of them were being subsidised up to $12,000 in year one and $6000 in year two, if they took a chance on an apprentice.

Whitehead Plumbing owner Mark Whitehead said after years of struggling to find enough suitable people to take on as apprentices, it was great to have more mature candidates coming through.

“It’s the difference between night and day really. Someone that’s coming out of school, they don’t necessarily always have the same work attitude.

“They don’t have the same communication skills. They might not have the same ethics around working along with other people. Whereas someone that’s been in the workforce, they’ve had those rough edges knocked off them and they tend to have a greater desire to move forward and learn faster.”

Of all the trades, plumbing was the one most committed to training New Zealanders ahead of simply bringing in overseas workers, mostly because overseas qualifications did not cut it here, he said.

He was flat out with work at the moment but was waiting to see how many jobs came his way next year before deciding how many apprentices he would take on.


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This content was sourced from RNZ. You can read the full article here.