Nats would pay $4k to retrain unemployed

The National Party would pay tertiary providers $4000 for every unemployed person they retrain and get into full time work as part of its reskilling and retraining package announced today.

Announcing the policy in Nelson this afternoon, party leader Judith Collins said it was about getting New Zealanders back to work and developing a stronger economy.

The policy:

•SkillStart scheme: would pay tertiary training providers $4000 for every unemployed person they retrain and get back into full-time work within a year – $120m
•Small Business Builder: A 12-week business training and mentoring programme to provide essential skills for starting a business – $25m
•Small Business Accelerator: A dedicated fund to deliver $5000 subsidy for management training to small business owners – $20m
•Under 25 Job Coach: A specialist position within Work and Income, tasked with working with Kiwis under 25 who are on the JobSeeker benefit to develop personalised, intensive ‘path to work’ plans
•Skills and Jobs Hubs: Expansion of National’s model using purpose-built centres to deliver wraparound services and match unemployed Kiwis with jobs in the party’s long-term infrastructure upgrade plans – $10m
•Vocational education: Reversing the government’s “expensive and distracting” restructuring of the vocational education sector to “ensure our tertiary system is focussed on frontline education and delivering skills”
•NZ Tech 2030: Boosting the supply of tech-related skills through scholarships and dedicated ICT graduate schools, to help in National’s plans to double the size of our technology sector by the end of the decade – $28m
•1000 STEM scholarships – $10m
•PhD recruitment programme – $12m
•Total cost: $250m

The party said it would ensure the social welfare system is geared towards supporting and encouraging people to move from welfare back into work.

It estimated the SkillStart scheme would help at least 30,000 New Zealanders into full time employment. The scheme would apply to programmes between three months and a year in length, and existing tertiary providers with good track records would be fast-tracked on programmes based on industry need, it said.

It would not apply to school leavers, and students would need to have been either unemployed or on a benefit – excluding JobSeeker Student Hardship – and keep their job past the 90 day trial period for the provider to be eligible.

Collins said it would target many sectors and “will see more New Zealanders get back into the driver’s seat”.

“National knows that training providers, properly incentivised and working with the employers in their regions, are in a much better position to identify where the new jobs are going to come from and what skills are necessary to fill them.”

The party expected its 12-week business course would help 5000 New Zealanders start a business. The Business Accelerator was estimated to with $5000 subsidies to 4000 people.

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