Skills training initiative

Phil Ker.
Phil Ker.
The Otago Polytechnic is seeking more backing from Dunedin employers as it prepares to launch an innovative training initiative to counter the city's youth unemployment problem.

Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker told the polytechnic's recent governing council that the polytechnic would deliver the training programme with the Malcam Trust, starting next month.

When the rebuilding of Christchurch was fully under way, a strong demand there for workers with trade skills would intensify trade shortages elsewhere, including in Otago, he said.

Youth unemployment was "a major concern nationwide", and in Otago exceeded the national average of 25%, in the 18 to 25 age group.

The 20-week programme involved an induction and formal training, as well as 15 weeks of work-based training for the interns.

Much "on the job" support would also be provided by a work-based mentor from the trust and a polytechnic learning mentor.

Many trades would be offered, including horticulture, carpentry and engineering pre-trades and business administration.

An allowance would be provided to cover transport costs, which were a "major barrier" for trainees.

It was intended the trainees would not have to pay a tuition fee, but that this would be covered by the organisations and businesses that provided the internships.

The Ministry of Social Development would also provide support.

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