Opinion by Patrick Gower
John Key has started the year with an urgent task – to stop the ticking time bomb that is youth unemployment.
It’s closely linked to another potential explosion – the skills crisis in rebuilding Christchurch.
So before both go bang, Key and his lieutenant Steven Joyce are trying to pluck the right wires.
They’ve decided to do that by throwing a bit of cash at the problem. They call it a “re-boot”.
So the first 10,000 apprentices after April 1 will get a cash payout to help with “off-job” costs like tools.
If you are in a construction trade – a builder, or plumber etc. – you will get $2000.
Anything else – boiler-maker, welder etc. – you get $1000.
The payouts will cost $28 million all up.
There are incentives for employers too – they’ll be able to get the cash that training organisations do.
The Government says this plan will bring in 14,000 more apprentices over five year.
Key had no choice but to address this bomb. There’s an estimated 85,000 ‘NEETS’ out there - young people Not in Education, Employment or Training.
Its one of the genuine weak areas for the Government, the question is whether this will really defuse it, or if Key and Joyce haven’t cut the right wire.