Financial help for trainees and workplaces

Skills Active trainees and workplaces may be able to access financial assistance to support their industry training. Read on for more information and eligibility requirements - these vary depending on the scheme.

Our industries are central to the spirit and culture of New Zealand and its people. Sport, recreation and performing arts keep us happy and healthy. 

As New Zealand navigates the Covid-19 recovery period, a range of support options are available to Skills Active trainees and workplaces, to help keep learning going in these vital industries.

Skills Active hardship fund

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The Skills Active hardship fund is available to support scholarships for most of our certificate programmes.

Trainee scholarships

We are providing scholarships that cover 100% of enrolment fees. Any workplace that meets the eligibility criteria can request the scholarship directly from their learning support advisor.

Criteria for workplaces:

The workplace employs a staff member who is eligible to enrol in the qualification

The workplace has experienced hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

The workplace has a commitment to the retention and development of staff.

How to apply:

Talk to a learning support advisor to see if the certificate you're interested in is covered by the scholarship, or discuss which qualifications would be right for you or your staff.

Workplace hardship fund

We are establishing a separate hardship fund to support those workplaces and trainees impacted by Covid-19. At this stage, we see this being used to help with the training and assessment costs of our on-the-job qualifications. We are still developing the details of this scheme, so please stayed tuned for more information.

Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund

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Skills Active apprenticeships are designed for committed industry professionals. There is no cost to sign up for any of our apprenticeship programmes - enrolment and assessment fees are zero, until the end of 2022.

All apprenticeships are now being funded through the government’s Targeted Training Fund, which is designed to help employers and apprentices during the Covid recovery period.

There’s no special application process – fees have simply been waived. Check out our apprenticeships in aquatics, outdoor recreation and performing arts, and talk to a learning support advisor to see if it’s the right option for you!

Please note that this funding programme replaces the Fees-Free scheme, which previously covered Skills Active apprenticeships for eligible learners.
If you are currently eligible for Fees-Free, enrolling in an apprenticeship under the Targeted Training Fund won't prevent you from using Fees-Free in future.

Apprenticeship Boost

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The Apprenticeship Boost scheme provides a wage subsidy to employers who retain their apprentices, or take on new ones.

This scheme runs for 20 months from August 2020. All Skills Active apprenticeships are eligible for this funding.

The amount of the wage subsidy paid to the employer will vary depending on how far the apprentice has progressed through their training. Employers can receive up to $1,000 per month for an apprentice in their first year, and $500 per month for an apprentice in their second year.

To apply, the workplace will need a business MyIR account, and the apprentice must complete a consent form. The workplace will then need to complete an online application form - this form will be available on the Work and Income website from 5 August. 

Regional Apprenticeships Initiative

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The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative is designed to support new apprentices doing their training outside the main centres.

This fund will support up to 1,000 new apprentices and their employers in regional New Zealand - that is, outside of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The fund will initially be targeted at Māori and Pasifika apprentices, and those apprentices who lost their previous employment due to Covid-19. After that, it will be open to all regional apprentices.

The fund provides up to $40,000 per apprentice, which includes a wage subsidy and help with business support and pastoral care, to create the right environment for a successful apprenticeship.

One condition of the scheme is that the employer must top up the funding they receive, to ensure the apprentice is paid at least the relevant minimum wage or training wage.

Workplaces can register their interest in the scheme by contacting RegionalApprenticeshipInitiative@mbie.govt.nz. Larger workplaces planning to take on 10 or more apprentices through the scheme can complete an RAI application form.

For more details, check out the Provincial Growth Fund website.

Technology Access Fund for Learners

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The Technology Access Fund supports industry trainees whose job or training has been disrupted the Covid-19 pandemic, and who need better access to technology to complete their learning.

The Technology Access fund can help with:

a suitable device, on loan for the duration of the trainee’s qualification, to allow them to access their online learning and assessment

an internet connection, either through broadband or mobile data if appropriate, for the duration of the trainee’s qualification

essential operating systems and/or programmes that the trainee needs on their device, in order to participate in online learning and assessment

appropriate technical support as needed, to help the trainee with their technology needs.

How to apply:

Eligible trainees are those who are enrolled in Skills Active apprenticeships or traineeships where learning and/or assessment is delivered either wholly or partly online.

Because funding is limited, priority will be given to those learners with the highest level of need, and those with technology or skill barriers to accessing online learning and assessment.

You can be nominated by a Skills Active staff member, or you can apply directly by email, to Delivery general manager Todd Maddocktoddm@skillsactive.org.nz.

The application should include your name, qualification, and a brief description of your technology access needs (up to 150 words). Skills Active will consider applications on the 15th of each month, and get in touch with applicants shortly after that date.

Mana in Mahi

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The Mana in Mahi programme is designed to help people who have been disadvantaged in the labour market to move into new jobs.

It's available across all industries, so that businesses can grow while providing opportunities for young people to gain experience and earn qualifications.

If you are interested in Mana in Mahi, it's really important to speak directly with the team at Work and Income New Zealand to understand if it's right for you.

Below, we've provided some basic information to get you started.

For our workplaces:

Mana in Mahi may be open to you if you are offering a full-time role (30 hours +) to anyone who has been disadvantaged in the job market. 

You must be paying at least the adult minimum wage, and you need to commit to supporting your new staff member to complete a Skills Active industry training programme.

Mana in Mahi will provide a wage subsidy of up to $16,000 in the trainee's first year, and $8,000 in the second year. It will provide help with start-up tools and gear, pre-work training, and pastoral care along the way. Your trainee will also receive three incentive payments in their first year, to help motivate them to meet their work and training goals.

Click here for more detailed information for employers from the Mana in Mahi site, or contact Mana_in_Mahi@msd.govt.nz to apply.

For our trainees:

To take part in Mana in Mahi, you must be someone who has previously been disadvantaged in the labour market.

You need to be working at least 30 hours a week with your new employer, and you must commit to pursuing a Skills Active on-job qualification that matches your role.

Mana in Mahi will subsidise the wage paid to you by your employer, and provide regular support and visits to help you along. If you stick at it, you will also receive three $1,000 incentive payments, over the course of your first year in the job.

Click here for more detailed information for trainees from the Mana in Mahi site.

The training wage

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If you are an employer taking on a new staff memberyou may be able to pay them the training wage if they are completing at least 60 credits a year in a Skills Active industry training programme.

The training wage is 80% of the adult minimum wage. It can only be paid to people who are aged 20 or over, and it cannot be paid to any employee who is responsible for supervising other staff.

If you think your business could be eligible to offer the training wage, your next step should be to speak directly with the team at Employment New Zealand to understand your rights and responsibilities.

In order to be eligible, you and your employee must have their industry training commitment written into their employment contract. The training must be required for them to become qualified in their role.

Your employee is only eligible for the training wage while they are completing 60 credits a year. If they finish their qualification, or they are no longer doing 60 credits in a year, you must pay them at least the adult minimum wage. You should reassess eligibility each year.

Click here for more detailed information from the Employment NZ website.