39 days ago

Apprenticeship fees scrapped for all from July 1

Brian from New Lynn

The $320 million programme aims to stave off a sharp drop in training that occurred after the global financial crisis, when trainees plunged from 133,000 to 83,000. It will be funded out of a four-year, $1.6 billion package announced in last month's Budget, which also includes a further $412m employer apprenticeship subsidy which has yet to be detailed. The Budget said the $320m fund for free trades training would be restricted to "courses linked to industry skills needs in building and construction, agriculture and manufacturing and also vocational courses like community health, counselling and care work". Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the free courses will now be extended to all apprentices in all industries. However, apprentices and trainees in targeted sectors will have compulsory student services fees and other compulsory course costs paid as well as their training fees.
The targeted sectors for the rest of this year are:
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• Primary industries, including agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, fisheries (including aquaculture) and forestry;
• Construction, including building, plumbing, and civil engineering;
• Community support, including youth work, care for elderly, counselling and community health, including mental health and addiction support;
• Manufacturing and mechanical engineering and technology;
• Electrical engineering; and
• Road transport (eg heavy vehicle operator).
"For 2021, we will refine these initial targeted areas to reflect the work that is under way across Government to better understand how industry workforce needs are being affected by Covid-19 and what skills will be needed to support the country's economic recovery," Hipkins said. The measures will apply to existing apprentices and trainees as well as new sign-ups, and will apply from July 1 this year until December 2022. Trainees will save up to $6780 for an NZ Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. The move comes just in time, as Statistics NZ said building consents for new dwellings in April dropped 17 per cent below the same month last year due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation chief executive Warwick Quinn said the drop could have forced employers to lay off up to 30 per cent of their apprentices without Government support. "At the moment our apprentice numbers are holding up, however we are not seeing the number of signups because of the large drop-off over the lockdown," he said. "We have quite a number waiting in the wings for the Government's announcement on free fees - several hundred waiting for that decision." He said some employers were ready to hire more apprentices with Government support. "I had a call from a pretty large contractor asking, 'Do you think there will be sufficient support that will provide me with enough to be able to employ someone fulltime so I can manage all of my apprentices? If I could afford to, I would take on another 30'," Quinn said. "My hope is that that is going to happen. They are quite a big commercial builder in Wellington."
Auckland builder Ross Faulkner, who has eight apprentices, said he intends to keep them all even though house-building projects he had lined up before the lockdown for an architect and two Air NZ staff have been put on hold because of the Covid-19 crisis. "Stress levels are rising, you might say," he said. "We have been able to juggle are expecting a few jobs to come through in the next week or two."
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More messages from your neighbours
2 days ago

How much should your council rates rise?

Todd Niall Reporter from Auckland Stuff

Hi Neighbours, With one week until Auckland Councillors decide this year's rates rise, and the size of the Covid-19 hit Emergency Budget, public feedback on rates is fairly evenly split. How much do you think your's should rise? Read the story below:

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3 hours ago

Should everyone in managed isolation wear an electronic bracelet? What do YOU say?

Brian from New Lynn

Health Minister Chris Hipkins is not ruling out the use of electronic bracelets for those in managed isolation after a third person allegedly escaped in the space of six days. The Government is tightening monitoring of those in managed isolation facilities after Queenstown man Martin McVicar, on Thursday night, allegedly jumped down the Distinction Hotel fire escape, eluded police and made a mad dash for booze in Hamilton. But Hipkins said the All-of-Government response had already improved significantly from a man's escape from a facility in Auckland on Tuesday night, when health officials failed to provide timely advice to the Countdown that the man had visited.
By the time the Health Ministry was in touch, Countdown had already viewed CCTV footage, shut shop, completed a deep clean and chosen to self-isolate 18 staff members. "The health communication with Countdown was certainly too late in the piece," Hipkins said. "It does not meet my expectations around the speed of the response and that message has been well understood by all of the relevant health officials." The Health Ministry was quickly part of the response in Hamilton, and should be part of every such response, he said. The Government would be making announcements about ways to tighten up monitoring of those in managed isolation, but Hipkins wouldn't be drawn on the use of electronic bracelets. The use of such bracelets has been floated University of Otago public health expert Professor Nick Wilson. "New Zealand needs to learn all the lessons possible from the apparent failure of quarantine systems in Melbourne. New Zealand could also explore the benefits and costs of the use of electronic bracelets for people, as used in Hong Kong," Wilson said. The bracelets in Hong Kong are mandatory and correspond to an app. If someone tries to break quarantine, it issues a warning. Wilson said the focus should be on the system failures - for example, inadequate fencing or security - rather than the individuals involved. "All systems should be designed to account for the whole range of human behaviour – including people who don't follow the rules." It has been 70 days since the last case of community transmission, and there are two new cases yesterday - both contained in managed isolation facilities. The first case is a man in his 20s who arrived on June 28 from India, while the second is a man in his 20s who arrived on June 27 from England. Both tested positive on their day 12 tests. There are now 23 active cases of coronavirus, none of whom require hospital care. On Thursday there were 2575 tests, still well short of the recommended 4000 daily tests, and Hipkins said the numbers would ramp up in coming days. Part of the reason the testing was too low, he said, was that GPs had told people to get tested but they were being turned away by clinicians at community-based assessment centres (CBAC). Every person showing up at a CBAC with a GP's instruction to be tested should be tested, he said. There have been three escapes out of just under 28,000 people in total who have come through quarantine and managed isolation facilities. "I don't accept people knowingly and willingly breaking the law represent a flaw in the system. These are not maximum security prisons. These are hotels," Hipkins said. "If someone broke into your house and stole all of your stuff, and then turned around and said, 'Well, you should have had better locks,' I don't think anyone would accept that." He said the increase in facility breaches could be an indication of the type of New Zealanders now returning from overseas. "There are fewer families coming through, there are more single people coming back, there are more people who have more complex health needs." He wouldn't be drawn on the reasons for McVicar's alleged escape. The staffer of the Hamilton liquor store who served McVicar said: "He walked in and bought a four-pack of Leffe Blonde and a pinot noir." McVicar, 52, appeared in the Hamilton District Court via audio visual link yesterday and faced a charge of intentional damage of a 52-inch TV and intentionally failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act by leaving a managed isolation facility and purchasing alcohol. He was remanded in custody and denied bail. He will reappear in court on July 15.
Last Saturday, a woman jumped two fences at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland shortly before 6.20pm and was located soon after a couple of blocks away at 8pm on Anzac Ave. She is appearing in the Auckland District Court on Monday. On Tuesday night, a man sneaked through a gap in the fence at the Stamford Plaza in Auckland and visited a Countdown before returning 70 minutes later. He has also been charged. There is now meant to be 24/7 police presence at every one of the quarantine and managed isolation facilities, as well as a lead security person at each facility.
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2 days ago

Poll: Should Kiwis be entitled to more sick leave?

The Team Reporter from Stuff

With Covid-19 still a very real risk, people who are unwell are told to stay home, and to keep any sickly kids home too - but what if you don't have any more sick leave owing?

Most Kiwis are entitled to five days of sick leave a year, but some - often those in lower paid jobs - get less.

New Zealand’s minimum sick leave allowance is one of the lowest in the OECD. In Australia they get 10 days, in most European countries it’s even more.

Should Kiwis be entitled to more sick leave?

To read more, click here.

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Should Kiwis be entitled to more sick leave?
  • 60.1% Yes, five days is not enough
    60.1% Complete
  • 13.7% No, I never use mine up anyway
    13.7% Complete
  • 26.1% Entitlement should be assessed on a case-by-case basis
    26.1% Complete
3343 votes