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Master Plumbers applauds decision to retain Apprenticeship Boost funding

30 May 2024

As part of today’s Budget 2024 announcement, the Government pledged to continue the Apprenticeship Boost scheme by committing $65 million over four years.

Master Plumbers and its affiliate apprentice training organisation, Masterlink, welcome the extension of the scheme.

Master Plumbers Chief Executive Greg Wallace said training apprentices remains the best solution to combating workforce shortages in the industry.

“Plumbing has an ageing workforce, with 38% of the plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers now aged 55 and over. We estimate a current shortfall of 3,000 plumbers and drainlayers.”

Mr Wallace says businesses require financial support to encourage and facilitate the employment of apprentices, to grow the industry and deliver on future needs.

“As much as the Apprentice Boost scheme is welcomed, we also need the Coalition Government to activate government-funded projects with the likes of the Ministry of Education and Kāinga Ora, including cyclone relief, to ensure the workforce coming through has enough work in the future.”

The Government introduced Apprenticeship Boost funding in 2020. Through the scheme, which was due to end on 31 December 2024, eligible employers receive direct payments to help pay for new and existing apprentices. 

Mr Wallace says the initiative has contributed to a significant increase in plumbing apprentice enrolments. By removing entry cost barriers, more apprentices have been able to undertake formal training and more businesses have been able to take on apprentices – many for the first time.

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