Skills and training

The Provincial Development Unit (PDU) administers a number of skills and training initiatives. Some of these are funded through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), while others draw on different funding sources.

The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative

The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative (RAI) is administered through the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) and was established to support new apprentices and their employers across a range of sectors in regional New Zealand.

The RAI is now closed to new applicants.

However, you can contact the third party providers below to apply for funding if your business is a small to medium enterprise (SME) looking for 10 or fewer apprentices in specific regions. 

Contact third-party providers of RAI

We work with third-party providers in different regions to help local people find apprenticeships and obtain trade-based qualifications. These third-party providers administer funding on behalf of the PDU, provide pastoral care and give support to employers. 

Programme Region Contact details
TROTAK (Te Rūnanga o Tūranganui ā Kiwa) Tairāwhiti
Mid-South Canterbury & North Otago Regional Apprenticeship Initiative (Venture Timaru)
  • Canterbury
  • Mid-South Canterbury
  • North Otago
  • Dunedin
  • South Otago (Milton and Balclutha)
  • Central Otago (Alexandra and Cromwell)
  • Queenstown
  • Wanaka  
Tradeup Ltd Regional Apprenticeship Programme North Island (excludes Auckland and Wellington)

The RAI was established to support people in regional New Zealand who want to participate in an apprenticeship or other similar NZQA Level Four industry training qualification. It formed part of a wider Government support package which includes Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) Apprenticeship Boost Initiative, Mana in Mahi and the Group Training Scheme. To find out more about MSD’s services please visit the link below.

Apprenticeship Support Programme — Work and Income

The RAI’s priorities included supporting Māori and Pasifika, people who had finished pre-trade training but were unable to progress into an apprenticeship, and those who had lost work due to COVID-19. Urban areas such as Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland were not covered by this initiative.

Applications were taken directly from organisations working in the primary sector, construction, manufacturing, engineering and wood processing industries, as well as third party service providers. Up to $40,000 is allocated per apprentice, which covers support for wage subsidies (through the Apprenticeship Support Programme), and business support or pastoral care needs employers encounter while working with apprentices.

He Poutama Rangatahi - Youth Employment Pathways

He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) is a cross-agency initiative aimed at rangatahi (the younger generation) who are most at risk of long-term unemployment and who may need extra individualised and ongoing support to connect to training and employment.

Projects have been funded by both the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Provincial Growth Fund.

Under Budget 2020, HPR received further funding to extend the programme beyond the regions to urban areas like West and South Auckland, Hamilton, Porirua and East Christchurch.

Through supporting local organisations, HPR helps to deliver sustained employment outcomes for rangatahi. As part of this, HPR also supports employers who need access to specialised employment support for the needs of rangatahi.

A successful HPR project provides young people and employers with the tools and intensive support needed to help rangatahi into work.

HPR supports projects which:

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

Read about a funded He Poutama Rangatahi project: 

PGF funding combines with locals to give Tairāwhiti people a better future

Providing urban rangatahi a path to sustainable employment

He Poutama Rangatahi has transitioned to the Ministry of Social Development: 

He Poutama Rangatahi — Work and Income

Māori Trades and Training Fund

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

The MTTF focuses 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.

Projects will be Māori-led and support people into meaningful employment through in-demand skills that will aid their long-term employment.

The Minister for Employment and Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, will jointly approve applications on a rolling basis.

Proposals 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
  • 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 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
  • 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. 

Read about an investment from the fund to support Māori to learn new skills:

Trades training builds on iwi aspirations —

The Māori Trades Training Fund has transitioned to the Ministry of Social Development: 

Māori Trades Training Fund — Work and Income

Sector Workforce Engagement Programme

The Sector Workforce Engagement Programme (SWEP) is a cross-government initiative to help employers get access to skilled regional staff. It works across industries like horticulture and viticulture, dairy farming, road freight transport, construction, tourism, hospitality and aged residential care.

SWEP partners with industries to develop solutions to improve their access to labour and create training pathways for local people to enter into local industry.

Read more about the jobs and skills hubs in Auckland:

Jobs hubs to support Auckland jobseekers

Te Ara Mahi - Pathways to Work

In February 2019, the Government announced that the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) would set aside $82.4 million to target regional employment, skills and capability.

Te Ara Mahi (TAM) was established to support people into employment opportunities and equip them with the skills and experience to find work and build a career.

TAM funded projects focused on:

  • methods to improve the pathway to employment. This included tailored support for people to become work-ready and gain and sustain employment
  • employers who needed support, coordination or connections, to employ local people
  • specifically targeted regions across New Zealand, except for the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch metropolitan areas that closely aligned to the PGF objectives.


Published: 16 October, 2020 · Updated: 25 March, 2021