Te Ara Mahi, He Poutama Rangatahi and apprenticeships

Getting young people into work

He Poutama Rangatahi is a cross-agency initiative aimed at getting young people that are not currently in employment, education or training into work, while Te Ara Mahi is about employment and skills pathways for working people of any age.

He Poutama Rangatahi

The rangatahi targeted by HPR are those most at risk of long-term unemployment, and who may need more individualised and ongoing support to connect to training and employment than current programmes are able to provide.

We support projects that:

  • highlight current interventions which could be scaled up or redirected;
  • identify gaps in support and pastoral care for both young people and for employers; and
  • develop ways to fill those gaps.

If a project is also eligible for Provincial Growth Fund support, your project may also be considered for HPR funding, if it meets both Provincial Growth Fund and HPR criteria.

Learn more about HPR and PGF criteria

Te Ara Mahi

Te Ara Mahi is funded from $82.4 million set aside from the Provincial Growth Fund that's specifically for regional employment, skills and capability.

We are considering projects and activities for funding which:

  • focus on any aspect of the pathway to employment for people in the regions. This includes tailored support for people to become work-ready, gain and sustain employment; and to support those who are underemployed and could upskill.
  • focus on employers who may need support, coordination or connections, to employ local people into local jobs.
  • focus on any age group within the working age population. If your project/activity focuses solely on people aged 15-24, please consider He Poutama Rangatahi funding instead.
  • target any regions except the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch metropolitan areas.

Learn more about our application criteria.

The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative

The $40 million Regional Apprenticeships Initiative (RAI), funded through the Provincial Growth Fund, will support up to 1,000 new apprentices and their employers in regional New Zealand across a range of sectors.

The initial focus will be on helping recently displaced workers and Māori and Pacific peoples into apprenticeships. Once that initial need has been met, the fund will be open to all regional apprentices and employers.

We aim to get this funding into communities as quickly as possible to support regions as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
The RAI allows for up to $40,000 per apprentice, which includes a wage subsidy aligned to the Apprenticeship Support Programme. There is additional funding to help with business support and pastoral care so employers and apprentices can successfully maintain the apprenticeship.

Employers must top up their funding to ensure apprentices are paid at least the relevant minimum wage or training wage and not be accessing a wage subsidy or other similar apprenticeship support from any other source.

The RAI is part of a wider Government support package which includes the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative, Mana in Mahi and the Group Training Scheme. For more information on the package see the Work and Income website:

Apprenticeship Support Programme — Work and Income


The scheme is available to any employer taking on a new apprentice who is participating in the New Zealand Apprenticeship scheme or other Level Four industry training qualification similar to an apprenticeship.

The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative doesn’t cover:

  • pre-trades training
  • Level Two and Three qualifications
  • Level Four qualifications that are not equivalent to an apprenticeship, i.e., less than 120 credits.
  • existing apprentices
  • employers based in Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch

Scheme priorities

Priority will be given to people working in the primary sector, construction, manufacturing, engineering, and wood processing.
Priority will also be given to:

  • people who have lost work due to COVID-19
  • Māori and Pasifika, including existing employees who want to transition into an apprenticeship
  • people who have undertaken pre-trade training and have been unable to progress into an apprenticeship, and
  • others who would benefit from undertaking an apprenticeship.

How to apply

Large employers that will take on 10 apprentices or more should complete a Regional Apprenticeships Initiative application form.

Smaller employers intending to take on fewer than ten apprentices should register their interest by emailing RegionalApprenticeshipInitiative@mbie.govt.nz.


  • your company name
  • region of operation
  • number of apprentices you are considering taking on
  • the sector you work in 
  • contact details.

Applications from smaller employers will be managed through third party providers and we are finalising the details of this process. We will be in touch once we have further information.

Māori Trades and Training Fund

The Māori Trades and Training Fund (MTTF) has been created through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The MTTF will support community-led employment and training programmes through partnerships between Māori and the Crown that empower solutions by Māori, for Māori.

The MTTF will focus on multiple employers, for example, iwi or hapū, to provide work experience and training opportunities for Māori. This includes an emphasis on paid training with support services, such as pastoral care, to overcome barriers to participating in training or apprenticeships.

Potential projects will be Māori-led and support people into meaningful employment through in-demand skills that will support their long-term employment in the workforce.

The MTTF is administered by the Provincial Development Unit with support from Te Arawhiti. The Minister for Employment, Hon Willie Jackson, and Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Hon Kelvin Davis, will jointly approve applications on a rolling basis.


Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Projects must be led by Māori including iwi, hapū or other Māori groups
  • Funding should focus on initiatives that will develop skills likely to be in demand over time
  • Crown funding will be used by Māori entities to bring cultural knowledge, expertise and connections to the Māori community.
  • Initiatives should provide meaningful opportunities to support people into sustainable employment to help fulfil their needs, goals and contribute to their overall wellbeing.
  • Initiatives should promote upskilling and employment in vulnerable communities, and support people to access employment-based training opportunities who otherwise may not be able to access such opportunities
  • Initiatives should provide a pathway for trainees to move into further training or employment opportunities to encourage positive labour market outcomes for communities and employers in the longer-term.

How to Apply

Applicants should complete an expression of interest form and email it to MTTFund@mbie.govt.nz.

Published: Jun 23, 2020