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The final school term of the year is starting, and we want our kids to be engaged in their learning environments.  
While they are at school, we want to make sure they’re getting the best education they can, and this is certainly the case with our fantastic schools in Taranaki.
National is working hard to ensure all our kids have the opportunity to engage in learning that best meets their needs, and this means diversifying the options particularly around the practical career paths.
Trades Academies provide a different learning choice for students – vocational learning directly related to the workforce and skill needs of industry.
They deliver trades and technology programmes to secondary students based on partnerships between schools, tertiary institutions, industry training organisations, and employers.
The programmes are all about offering students more choice about how and what they will learn.  They are becoming an increasingly popular choice for more young people.
Students like learning that is directly relevant to their career aspirations and is a starting point for them to go on to higher studies in their chosen area.
So National is shifting more funding to Trades Academy places to meet the demand from our young students.  From 2016, there will be 600 extra Trades Academy places per year, on top of the 340 extra places already announced in Budget 2015 – totalling 940 more a year.
Here in Taranaki we recently received funding for a Trades Training Initiative for Maori & Pasifika students which will run from Taranaki Futures.  From engineering, carpentry to farming this funding will be a great investment for our local young people.
The recent Education Review Office report on Trades Academies noted that the learning in Trades Academies motivated and engaged students, and helped them change their attitude to learning.  It also found students developed a clear learning pathway into careers.
Trade Academies play a key role in ensuring more young people achieve the qualifications they need to successfully participate in the modern economy, and New Zealand employers get workers with the skills industries need.   
A skilled workforce is the engine-room of a thriving economy.

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