As part of our work to secure our COVID recovery, we’re upgrading schools around the country. This will not only ensure young Kiwis have modern classrooms to learn in, but will also support hundreds of local jobs and provide an economic boost for our communities.
We’re committed to making sure our tamariki can get a great education to set them on the path towards a bright future. We’ve already taken a number of steps to make this a reality for Kiwi kids, from introducing free, healthy lunches in schools to rolling out more support for students with diverse learning needs.
We recently announced the next stage in rebuilding New Zealand’s education system – more significant investments to upgrade classrooms and build new ones in schools across the country. This includes $100 million for short-term roll growth classrooms, plus a $150 million top up for shovel-ready projects. This is part of our record $57.3 billion investment in infrastructure over the next four years, creating jobs and supporting local businesses as we drive our COVID recovery.
Some of the upgrades we’ve announced so far include redeveloping teaching blocks at Kamo High School in Whangārei and Napier Girls’ High School, as well as new classrooms at Ruakākā School, Oruaiti School, Te Rangi Aniwaniwa and Whangārei Intermediate, to keep up with growing rolls. Together, these projects in Northland are expected to create around 200 jobs.
These are the first of many schools to benefit from our extra investment in school property, and we’re set to announce more projects soon. These upgrades will mean more students have the modern, fit-for-purpose classrooms they deserve, so they can focus on what’s important – their learning. We also want to make sure that our hard working teachers have the right facilities to keep doing their jobs well.
As we continue to invest in shovel-ready infrastructure projects, we’re also making sure we have the skilled workforce we need to get the job done. We’ve rolled out free apprenticeships and free trades training in targeted areas, along with support for employers to keep their apprentices on, to build our workforce. We have already had more than 140,000 people sign up for free trades training, which means our rebuild can continue to ramp up as we move forward with our recovery.
Upgrading New Zealand’s schools is just one of the ways we’re securing our recovery. It’s about investing in infrastructure to create jobs, and grow the economy, while also addressing long term underinvestment in our education system.
We’re putting in place policies that will not only keep COVID at bay, but will also ensure together we can emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. To learn more about how we’re securing New Zealand’s COVID recovery, read about our priorities here.
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