FEES FREE SCHEME GOOD FOR APPRENTICES

By NZHJ December 14, 2017 Trade Focus

But, adds Warwick Quinn, the scheme will need to take in more specialised courses to match industry needs.

BCITO says that the Government’s Fees Free initiative which goes live in January looks set to help alleviate some of the skills shortages in the building and construction industry.

With the need for some 56,000 new workers in construction and related occupations over the next five years, Fees Free will cover a student’s fees for one year of tertiary study or for two years of industry-based training.

As well as easing financial barriers for potential apprentices, BCITO Chief Executive, Warwick Quinn (photo above), says Fees Free will encourage more employers to take on apprentices.

"The Government has recognised the role employers, many of whom operate small businesses with limited resources, play in giving their trainees an ’on the job ‘education,” he says.

While Fees Free is a great start, says Warwick Quinn, as the building industry continues to move towards specialisation, Fees Free will need to cover shorter, more focused courses, which currently would not be covered by the scheme. 

“With specialisation a significant feature of the construction industry right now, we would not like to see potential apprentices steering away from such opportunities just to benefit from free fees."

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