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‘Via industry training, we are investing in skilled and passionate people like Aimee O’Kane, who supports adults with intellectual disabilities, enabling them to live good lives’ said Interim Chief Executive for Careerforce, Andrew Saunders at the Canterbury Joint Industry Training Mayoral Graduation on 12 November held in Christchurch.

O’Kane who completed two health and wellbeing qualifications in two years with the support of her workplace, Helen Anderson Trust, was one of the over 100 graduates in attendance during the graduation event organised by the Canterbury district councils (Christchurch, Waimakariri, Hurunui, and Selwyn). The event recognises and celebrates its local graduates of industry training.

Saunders in his keynote speech, refers to the recent BERL study that uncovered the real cost of tertiary education, highlighting that industry training or workplace training and apprenticeships is the better investment for the Government.

Andrew Saunders (Interim CE) and Aimee O’Kane (graduate) at the Industry Training Mayoral Graduation in Christchurch

The BERL study said that in 2016, the Government spent $1.23 billion to support universities to provide their facilities, staff and tuition, and an additional $680 million on loans and allowances — a total of $1.92 billion, to support 146,000 domestic university students.

Industry training on the other hand received just $171 million, to support 147,000 trainees and apprentices – just 6 per cent of publicly funded tuition and training subsidies.

He added the many other benefits of on-the-job training but particularly highlighted that graduates have developed and demonstrated the skills and competencies that employers want and need.

Saunders further said that Careerforce have been working hard over the years to increase sector participation in training so that New Zealand, ‘has skilled and qualified workers supporting the more vulnerable members of our community, and to build strong and healthy families, whanau and community.’

On behalf of all the industry training organisations, he offered his thanks and congratulations to all employers who are investing on their staff. To graduates, he congratulated them on their achievements and asked them to be the ambassadors for industry training, apprenticeships and the sectors they represent.

‘I encourage you to share your story, and encourage others to take the same path. We need more of you. I also hope to see you at future graduations as you take your qualifications, and career, to the next level.’