Apprenticeships were deemed as the second choice for people who cannot enroll to universities because of not good enough grades. However, it may become the effective solution to close the skills gap and end youth unemployment as suggested by recruiting specialist Hays New Zealand.

Completing a degree is perceived as a guarantee of more earnings in long term by most of the people. The perception still exists yet it is no longer always the case as many tradespeople earn excellent salaries. The fact that a large amount of university graduates are not able to find work while labour shortage is happening in trades especially engineering and construction industries, apprenticeship is the possible way to deal with the situation. Apprenticeship is also more favorable to the young Kiwi now as the cost of university education is getting higher and loads of options for apprenticeship are available nearly in every industry sectors.

Apprenticeship is no longer limited to people aged between 16 and 21 after changes made in the NZ Apprenticeship scheme in 2014. Everyone over the age of 16 can apply for apprenticeship now. Compared with internships, apprenticeships are more preferable as salary and classroom learning with on-the-job training will be provided. BCITO, the largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships in New Zealand, are now promoting apprenticeship in high schools by providing Gateway guide for schools to support pathways into the industry for students.

Not everyone wants to go to university and the stigma attached to vocational pathways is reducing — although there still needs to be more done to further reduce the stigma associated with vocational training over university study. Most people know of at least one person who has graduated in softer disciplines, such as fine arts or social sciences, who struggled to find work in their field. In our increasingly technologically sophisticated world of work, apprenticeships are delivering entry-level candidates who are job-ready.” said managing director of Hays New Zealand Jason Walker.

Having said that, more promotions for apprenticeships have to be done in New Zealand as scholarships and awards in colleges are still heavily biased towards recognizing students moving on to degree courses. It will be a long path for people to recognize the value of apprenticeships but at least they are right direction for easing youth unemployment.