28 September 2004
Business Council Welcomes Skills Package
The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (the Business Council) welcomes the Skills Package
launched today by the Government.
Peter Neilson, Chief Executive, believes the increase in the number of funded places
in Modern Apprenticeships combined with the increase in funded industry training places and post-placement training will
help address the skills shortage faced by businesses. “Unemployment for 15-25 year olds is significantly higher than the
national average rate of 4%. Skills shortages are limiting the capacity of one-in-five New Zealand businesses while
one-in-ten young people are out of work or training. Businesses are missing out on the tremendous energy, skills and
perspective that young people can offer but training is absolutely vital and 1000 extra apprenticeships will help bridge
this skills gap.”
Business Council members have over the last two years partnered with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs drawing together
business, local government, central government and the community to identify ways to address youth employment and at the
same time enhance their own performance.
A recent survey conducted by the Business Council of its members found that 44% of those reporting have implemented or
planned initiatives to encourage youth employment and 28% have identified human resources as one of the principal issues
affecting their business.
42% respondents have less than 10% of their workforce younger than 25 years old whilst 4% have over 50% of their
workforce in this age category.
The Business Council’s representative on the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, Richard Lauder, Managing Director, City Care
believes today’s increase in funding for apprenticeships and workplace training will help many more young people into
“City Care operates in industry sectors that are not regarded as attractive for school leavers and our industry has
generally neglected training new staff. As a result, many of our trades qualified staff are reaching the end of their
working lives and we do not have enough younger staff in training to replace these skilled workers.
We started our pre-apprenticeship work skills programme as part of an initiative launched by the Business Council and it
has been an elegant solution to address these problems. The programme has been very successful for us and young people
and businesses alike will only benefit from the Government’s increased funding this area. We welcome this announcement”