Wairoa Star column – 14 December 2017
I have been very lucky with the opportunities I had in the education system. Education is crucial to unlocking potential in our younger generations. One of my most inspirational quotes is from American civil rights leader Malcolm X, who rallied young people with the saying that “without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.”
The new government has just announced details of the first year of its Fees-Free tertiary education and training programme. It involves a huge investment and we are very proud of it. What does it mean on the ground? It means around 80,000 people will pay no fees for post-school training and study in 2018.
About 50,000 will be in polytechnics, on-the-job training and apprenticeships, at wananga or private training establishments. That will mean more tradies, engineers and other skilled and qualified people in the marketplace.
The other 30,000 will attend university and learn the skills to become our next generation of scientists and IT experts.
It means the Wairoa Learning Centre and EIT campuses will be humming, as people realise they don’t need to have a huge debt if they want to study and further their education.
Together with EIT, Ngāti Kahangunu and the government, our forestry industry will boom and there will be huge demand for specialised skills that will now be available for free.
I’m excited because alongside other plans for economic development of the Hawkes Bay region there will be plenty of opportunities for graduates to find a trade and build a career in the area.
We are backing people to be the best they can be. We want everyone in Wairoa to reach their potential – not only young people finishing school, but also those already in the workplace who have avoided further tertiary study and training because of the cost.
If you want to find out if you are eligible for free tertiary education go online at www.feesfree.govt.nz