Apprenticeships funding a boost for the Primary Sector

10 May 2022

The announcement of continued government financial support for apprentices will help the primary sector attract and train the thousands of new people needed, Primary ITO chief executive Nigel Philpott says.

Until the end of 2023, employers will be eligible for $500 a month for each first and second-year apprentice. The support comes from the Government’s Apprenticeship Boost scheme, which has been extended until the end of 2023.

Nigel says the announcement is very welcome for employers. “At Primary ITO, we’ve seen massive growth in apprenticeship numbers since the Apprenticeship Boost was launched at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Last year, we enrolled over 4000 new apprentices and now have nearly 8000 in training. These people will make a huge contribution to the skills that our sectors need.”

“The growth we’ve had shows that the cost of training was a barrier for employers and prospective apprentices. It is fantastic to see that recognised by extending the financial support.

Primary ITO has over 20,000 learners in total, with nearly 8000 of them doing full New Zealand Apprenticeships.

Nigel says 3000 of those apprentices are in dairy farming. “Dairy farming is a complex business and needs highly skilled people. Having so many apprentices in training puts them on a premium path to being farm managers and owners. Being well-trained means they will be able to farm with the highest standards of environmental and animal care, while producing the top quality milk consumers demand both in New Zealand and internationally.”

Primary ITO also has over 600 sheep, beef and deer farming apprentices, around 1100 in landscaping and arboriculture, 600 across sports turf and amenity (like parks and gardening), 500 in meat processing, and many more across a range of sectors from production horticulture, viticulture, seafood, equine and others.

“Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly important feature of the primary sector,” says Nigel.

“In future years we will see the growing pipeline of apprentices graduating, becoming industry leaders and taking on their own apprentices. The investment going in is extremely welcome now when employers are crying out for skilled people.”

Primary ITO learners are also currently benefiting from the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund, which is paying nearly all training fees until the end of 2022.

Primary ITO has 58 different apprenticeship programmes, catering for all industries in the primary sector. From October this year, Primary ITO will join other industry training organisations and polytechnics in the new Te Pukēnga New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology organisation.

Find out more about what government support is available.