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Retraining for jobs

Unemployment is on the rise due to the impact of COVID-19. It's critical that those affected can access retraining opportunities to secure employment, particularly in industries now tipped for growth. 

Based on your valued opinions, information from industry experts and insights from COMET we sent two questions to each political party about retraining for jobs. 

This was their response in alphabetical order:

Retraining For Job

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has impacted on a number of sectors, forcing many mid-career employees to switch industries.  Most have transferrable work and life skills but will need to build industry-specific skills.  How would you ensure that people of all ages, cultures and abilities have access to flexible learning and training opportunities that will support them to transition into meaningful employment? #

David Seymour

MP David Seymour 

Please refer to ACT’s policies for job creation and Covid-19 recovery plan on our website at www.act.org.nz

Our small-medium sized business policies are focused on job creation and provide for employers to take on new, untrained employees more easily.


Golriz Ghahraman

MP Golriz Ghahraman

Working people today need a complex set of skills, and we believe everyone has the right to an education that will enable them to participate in the changing economy. The Green Party envisions a tertiary sector that is well-resourced, vibrant, and innovative – one that is responsive to the needs of students, the evolving needs of our society, and the health of the biosphere. Mātauranga Māori is championed and cultural, sexual, gender, disability, religious and all other forms of diversity of students and staff is celebrated. Tertiary education, including trade training and apprenticeships, should be made equally accessible and affordability to different ages, cultures and abilities

Budget 2020 also contained a huge investment in green nature based jobs to help jump start a sustainable recovery from the COVID crisis. Thousands of New Zealanders will be employed in sustainable jobs, safeguarding nature. The package is a win now for New Zealanders wanting to get to work, and the health of the natural environment, in the immediate and longer term.


Chris Hipkins

Hon. Chris Hipkins

Labour will provide free access to all apprenticeships and to many trades training courses for the next two years. Tens of thousands of learners are eligible to save between $2,500 and $6,000 a year under this policy, making it easier for them to gain skills that will lead them into work. This policy also provides businesses with a reliable pipeline of apprentices and trainees at a time when the COVID rebuild ramps up. 

This is a wise investment where everybody wins - learners face less barriers to gaining new skills and better jobs, employers get a better workforce for the big projects they’re starting, and New Zealand as a whole gets a head start on the building and infrastructure work the country needs.

We will also continue to provide temporary financial assistance for employers to retain and support their apprentices.


Nicola Willis

List MP Nicola Willis

We will continue to support subsidised tertiary education and student support across apprenticeships and tertiary institutions.  We will halt the current centralisation of training into one mega-polytechnic, preferring a community-focused approach.


Tracey Martin

Hon. Tracey Martin

None of New Zealand First’s tertiary policies are age discriminatory – our Up Front Investment Policy, our Business Linked Internships Scheme are for all ages.  New Zealand First has had a member on the Tripartite Forum around the future of work and a member on the Education, Employment and Training Multi-ministerial group – the Hon. Tracey Martin.  Tracey has sat on this group as the Minister for Seniors in recognition that New Zealanders who are 50+ are going to need support to transition from one employment opportunity to another – both due to Covid but also as there are sunset industries and sunrise industries.  One of the drivers behind the financial support for local libraries announced early this year by Minister Martin was to ensure that careers advice was accessible to all ages - •”$30m over two years to fund and upskill librarians in public libraries so they can provide greater support for library users and help bolster reading and digital literacy.” 

New Zealand First believes that with greater use of the Vocational Pathways and recognition of transferable skills combined with stronger career advice and resources that New Zealanders should be supported throughout life – regardless of their employment status – to respond to opportunities to seek and gain validating ways to gain income (I express it in this way because we do not all want to be employees so self-employment should be an option for those who wish to pursue it) 

How are you ensuring that second chance learners, whose jobs are disappearing, have access to training pathways that take into account life-stage and socio-economic challenges? #

David Seymour

MP David Seymour 

ACT supports second chance leaners into apprenticeships by providing more money to apprentices and allocating a greater proportion of apprenticeship funding to employers so that they are incentivised to take on second chance learners.


Golriz Ghahraman

MP Golriz Ghahraman

The Green Party envisions a New Zealand where the economy works for everyone, as we all have a right to a secure income adequate to meet our needs and the needs of our families. The Green Party supports employers promoting skills development and learning opportunities, and the needs of working parents and caregivers being acknowledged and supported. The Green Party believes tertiary education should be free and the living costs payments, course-related costs, student allowances, the accommodation supplement, and the accommodation benefit should be set at fair and liveable levels.

Working people today need a complex set of skills, and we believe everyone has the right to an education that will enable them to participate in the changing economy. The Green Party’s Poverty Action Plan would guarantee a minimum income of $325 per week for students and people out of work, we would also increase support for apprenticeships and trade training, and we support increasing resources for meaningful training of people currently out of work or underemployed, including through community education programmes – as education should be accessible to everyone.


Chris Hipkins

Hon. Chris Hipkins

See previous answer


Nicola Willis

List MP Nicola Willis

The deep recession facing our country means many Kiwis will find themselves unexpectedly out of work, some stuck without the skills they need for a new job. Rather than abandoning these people to months or years on a benefit, National will support displaced workers to retrain and learn new skills. Investing in retraining and upskilling now will have a huge pay-off over time, and will help us to grow out of the recession stronger than when we went in.


Tracey Martin

Hon. Tracey Martin

I refer you to the answer above.  I would also direct your attention to the work New Zealand First has been part of via the Associate Minister of Education, Hon. Tracey Martin around micro credentials so that continuing to build on skills and knowledge while earning is enhanced. 

COMET