Government backs aspiring tradies

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Employment Minister Willie Jackson is backing Māori to help fill the national trades shortage and close the unemployment gap. 

It’s budget week and Jackson says his governments committed to supporting aspiring tradies.

Young people are forging a way forward for themselves in the trades sector.

Welding student Joseph Hurea says, "Some of them are coming off the streets so it's getting them off the streets getting them into jobs, staying away from crime".

Forklift operations teacher Robbie Tito says, "The old being on the dole, being on the benefit, I think it's had its day".

Jackson is visiting Aspire2 trades training today.  He says although Māori unemployment has fallen to a nine-year low, there's a still a lot of work to be done.

Jackson says, “Even though Māori unemployment rates have fallen, it's still a big challenge for Māori”.

Since opening last August, Aspire2 has had 70 graduates, among those were Māori. 

Welding students Kurapai Nganu and Joseph Hurea believe Māori could fill the national trade’s shortage.

Nganu says, "I guess it's just about the drive and motivation. Got to have that right motivation I guess".

Labour boasted a Dole for Apprenticeships policy during last year’s election.  Jackson didn't give any pre-budget hints but said the government is supporting aspiring tradespeople.

“We know I can't talk about the budget but we want to strengthen the trades industry, unlike National”, says Jackson.

There are currently 87 students chipping away at trades qualifications at Aspire2 Trades Training and they're hoping to see the fruits.