Trade workers play a key part in the economy and help to prop up the export sector, new research indicates.
Independent research firm BERL was commissioned by the Industry Training Federation (ITF) to research the economic costs and benefits of industry training and concluded that both the government and employers see high returns from industry trained professionals.
The report found that without ITF there would be a significant impact on the economy. This would include a $2.5 billion loss on the annual GDP in the short term and a long term loss between $7.2 and $15.1 billion.
The export sector would suffer the worst impact, with up to 19 percent volume loss in the long term.
ITF chief executive Mark Oldershaw said low-skilled or blue collar workers played an essential role in the economy.
“It shows that if the government investment in industry training was removed, the long term impact on GDP would be more than $7 billion a year. Given that the government’s industry training fund is currently $156 million, that is a significant return on investment.”
Trainees are often apprentices and those studying for professional qualifications, including project directors and surveyors who are looking to broaden their skill base.
Training is funded 70 percent by the government and 30 percent by the industry. However, the industry also contributes in-course costs including staff attending off-site training, travel and accommodation costs.
The number of industry trainees declined by 31,000 from 2008 to 2010.