The likelihood of fewer apprentices is just one of the reasons Education Minister Chris Hipkins should extend consultation on the vocational education reforms, National’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Spokesperson Shane Reti says.

Dr Reti has been visiting Polytechnics and today was in Invercargill visiting the Southern Institute of Technology and in Christchurch visiting the Ara Institute of Canterbury.

“A Skills survey of the wider sector shows that if these reforms progress then employers are 67 per cent less likely to employ an apprentice. Mr Hipkins is moving too far and too fast for the sector, and risks deepening the very problem he is trying to solve.

“Under these reforms there will be fewer apprentices, which could end up drastically increasing the costs of household services. Master Electricians New Zealand estimates Kiwis could end up paying 65 per cent more for an electrician due to labour shortages and added bureaucracy. With the New Zealand economy slowing and a gloomy global economic outlook, now is not the time to be imposing additional costs onto households and businesses.

“It is clear there hasn’t been enough time to think this through properly. I agreed with the Minister’s decision to extend the consultation by one week due to the Christchurch attacks. Now he should take this time to pause and consider the full impact of his proposed reforms.

“There is no need to rush this and the National Party can help with constructive policies. I challenge the Minister to immediately commit to extending his 1 January 2020 deadline for implementing these reforms and give industry, educators and students the chance to have a real say on the future of vocational education in New Zealand.”

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