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

While the majority of the fund has been committed, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will still be able to apply for RAI funding through third party providers. We encourage employers to take up this unique opportunity.

The initial focus will be on facilitating Māori and Pasifika people into apprenticeships and helping people who have lost work due to COVID-19, to find new employment. The Provincial Development Unit (PDU) aims to deploy this funding into communities as quickly as possible.

The RAI allows for up to $40,000 per apprentice. This includes a wage subsidy aligned to the Apprenticeship Support Programme. There is extra funding to help with business support and pastoral care so employers and apprentices can maintain the apprenticeship.

The RAI is part of a wider Government support package which includes the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative, Mana in Mahi and the Group Training Scheme.

Read about the Apprenticeship Support Programme:

Apprenticeship Support Programme — Work and Income

The scheme is available to any employer taking on fewer than 10 new apprentices who are 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
  • Priority will be given to people working in the primary, construction, manufacturing, engineering, and wood processing sectors.
  • 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.

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

Submit an expression of interest

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.

Submit an expression of interest

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

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 MTTF is administered by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) with support from Te Arawhiti.

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.

Submit an expression of interest

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

Trades training builds on iwi aspirations —

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.

Read about a Te Ara Mahi - Pathways to Work project:

Manawatū-Whanganui training and upskilling boost

Published: Oct 16, 2020