Maori training initiative announced

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pitaMore than 1800 Maori will receive training in industries with strong employment prospects under a new initiative, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples announced today.

Te Puni Kokiri is behind the initiative, the first step of which will open up 250 places in the Industry Training Organisation for the civil infrastructure industry (InfraTrain). Other areas, such as the seafood industry, would be announced in the coming months, with a total of 1820 places opening up.

Most would be trained at level 4 and above on the National Qualifications Framework, he said.

“It will also increase the number of Maori moving to higher level qualifications and into more senior roles within their organisations,” Dr Sharples said.

“Most importantly, the Maori workforce will become more resilient and better prepared for opportunities that lie ahead.”

Under the InfraTrain initiative, 250 places would be offered from entry level through to diplomas in the civil infrastructure industry – 50 in Waikato, 100 in the Northland/Auckland area and 100 in the East Coast/Hawke’s Bay area.

“InfraTrain guarantees that at least 20 per cent of these will be new employees, with the remainder moving into higher level qualifications within the industry,” Dr Sharples said.

“Maori make up more than one third of the current civil infrastructure workforce in the North Island, where the Government has signalled significant investment creating a demand for skilled workers and InfraTrain is committed to strengthening its Maori workforce.”

Maori had long struggled to be better educated, to climb the qualifications ladder and to see Maori business and the Maori asset base flourish, he said.

“Te Puni Kokiri has identified the characteristics of training programmes that Maori succeed in, and has paid to have those elements included in this training package.

“They include mentoring for success, extra pastoral care, a Maori focus in the programme, and career planning with an emphasis on higher level qualifications that lead to real jobs.”

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