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85 per cent increase in Kiwi apprentices

As we recover and rebuild from COVID-19, we’re investing in major shovel-ready and long-term infrastructure projects up and down the country – creating thousands of jobs in the trades nationwide.

It’s critical that we train people to get into these jobs, to fill gaps in our critical industries, and to build New Zealand back better. That’s why, in July this year, we made all apprenticeships free.

Through the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), all apprenticeships, including certificates, diplomas and programmes in targeted industries, are free for New Zealanders of all ages.

Since its launch, close to 14,000 Kiwis have started an apprenticeship nationwide. In the same period last year, that number was only 7,500.

More than 17,000 learners have also begun TTAF programmes in industries critical to our economic recovery. That’s compared with 12,800 learners enrolled in the same window in 2019.

In addition, the number of female apprentices who started an apprenticeship has more than doubled – increasing to 1,785 from 845 in the same period last year. (It’s great to see women going into these traditionally male-dominated industries – but we know there’s still a long way to go!)

These numbers speak for themselves. Kiwis want to get into training, and into a fulfilling career in the trades – and with our help, they’re doing it.

In addition to making apprenticeships free, we also launched our Apprenticeship Boost fund, which supports employers to retain and take on new apprentices, to help ensure New Zealand has a pipeline of skilled workers.

The Prime Minister’s Vocational Education Awards, now in its second year running, is another key way we’re celebrating achievement in vocational education and encouraging secondary school students to pursue a career in the trades.

Finally, we’ve launched a new vocational education and training marketing campaign, using social media, radio, TV and online ads to raise the profile of vocational education and apprenticeships among school leavers and learners under 25. It’s yet another way we’re encouraging young people into meaningful careers in the trades, while helping the sectors critical to New Zealand’s recovery to hire more skilled workers.


At this crucial time in New Zealand’s history, it’s more important than ever that we make vocational education accessible and get people into the trades. Getting people into vocational education and training will be an important part of our economic recovery from COVID-19, and it’s one major way we can build New Zealand back better.

The numbers show our hard work is paying off. But our work is far from over.  Stay in the loop by signing up to our mailing list for information on our latest announcements and achievements, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.