Trades training funding boost but Maori and Pasifika hit a brick wall

By Taroi Black

The government has invested more than $380 million in apprentice training to ensure the economy and employment stay on track. But in Auckland a lack of skilled tutors in trades training may hold this up.

Auckland-based Maori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) project manager Sam Sefuiva asks: “What happens when you have full classes, full courses and not enough tutors to train more programmes?.”

MPTT’s job is to combine trades training with mentoring and financial support, and connect trainees with employers to take them right into the heart of their chosen trade.

More than 21,000 apprentices are now learning on the job in the area of building and construction. But this has hit a brick wall due to the lack of tutors for Maori and Pacific trades training.

“The challenges that would be and have always been in making sure that we've got skilled tutors - our people within the industry are able to transfer over and give support to our tauira.”

Today, the government extended the Apprenticeship Boost by another four months to August 2022 with an extra $75 million to help employers and apprentices. But Maori and Pasifika tradies also want assurances.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the government has extended Apprenticeship Boost because it works.

“We continue to invest to deliver the skills we need to build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Hipkins says.

Maori Trades Training has received a funding boost of $5.5 million from the government, enabling 150 Māori to train and gain qualifications in Northland, the Bay of Plenty and the East Coast. 

“For our Maori and Pacific peoples it was an opportunity for them to shift from either not being involved totally in education or that they're in casual work where they need to be more skilled and take ownership of their own future,” Sefuiva says.