Defence Force and Industry Apprenticeship Scheme

( The New Zealand Defence Force is partnering with industry to provide a safety-net to apprentices by encouraging them to join their Reserve Forces.

After a successful pilot scheme the Defence Force and a number of group training organisations (GTO) and Industry Training Organisations (ITO) have signed an agreement creating the Kiwi Co-Host Scheme – a new initiative flowing from the Prime Minister’s Job Summit.

As a result, apprentices belonging to these trade-training organisations will be able to join the Defence Force Reserves and should their apprenticeships run into trouble they will be eligible receive up to six weeks of trade supervision from the Defence Force, if their GTO or ITO can’t immediately place them into further supervised training.

The agreement applies to trade apprentices who come under the auspices of ITO organisation Competenz (the New Zealand Engineering, Food and Manufacturing Industry Training Organisation), and GTO organisations ETCO (The Electrical Training Company Ltd), and Masterlink (the Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying Industry Training Organisation).

“The aim is for the Defence Force to provide six weeks trade employment for any apprentice who meets the Kiwi Co-Host criteria,” says Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae.

“For example, if for any reason an employer is unable to continue with an apprentice someone in our scheme can gain valuable hours towards qualifying in his or her trade, while their GTO or ITO finds them other permanent training supervision. The Defence Force obviously benefits by increasing the number of trades people we have available in our Reserve Forces.”

Lt Gen Mateparae says the Kiwi Co-Host was trialled in 2009 with several apprentices from Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Dunedin joining the Territorial Force (TF) of the New Zealand Army and undertaking basic military training before posting to TF units. Employers also benefit from the leadership and personal development that apprentices receive through their basic military training,” he says.

Two apprentices who have initially joined the scheme are Sapper Daniel Jones and Sapper James Dodd.

Sapper Dodd says, “So far the TF has been an amazing experience and I really look forward to what the future holds. If it wasn’t for the scheme I probably never would have joined. I think it’s a really good idea for the Army to employ skilled tradesmen, that they can utilize on exercise and deployments. It also benefits us in the civilian world for the reason that if everything turns pear shape and we run out of work or lose our jobs, there is a place for us to go and further our skills.”

Sapper Jones says, “Joining the New Zealand territorial force is one thing I look back on and say that I am proud of. It wasn’t till I had finished my basic training I understood why the corporals were so strict. It was to push us to our limits and make us become the best solider we could be. When I got back to Civvy Street I felt real good about myself and what I had accomplished.

“It was weird being able to have free time and relax; it took me a few weeks to stop marching when I walked places. I now keep my room tidy and all my gear in my room squared away,” says Sapper Jones.

“The basic training was hard work but man it felt good after and looking back at what I had just done.”

The GTO and ITO’s involved have welcomed the scheme which offers apprentices a guarantee of continuing training.

Media Release 16 August 2010 from New Zealand Defence Force.