Read the article in the NZ Herald today about the bourgeoning problem re the flight of ‘skilled’ Kiwis across the Tasman. By skilled now, we don’t just mean those highly educated individuals who have left in the past. Yes, they are still leaving, but it is the ‘Trades-skilled,’ that has been identified as the latest outflow of NZers.
We need these people, not only for the rebuilding of earthquake ravaged Christchurch, but for the economy in general. We do not want to rely on immigration to keep our stock of skilled people high enough to drive our economy, because let’s face it; they too will join the ‘flow.’
It is time that we came up with an answer. Actually, it has been obvious for many years and it is no more than going back to the past to find it. When I trained to be a teacher many years ago, I was ‘bonded’ to work for three years (or so a stint of ‘country service). That meant I did not have to pay for my training and I received a liveable, albeit a frugal allowance. I did not have to pay that back, unless I left the job before the bonding period was up.
Bring back this scheme, but extend it to a wide range of Trades and other much needed vocations. It will cost a great deal, but if we continue to lose our skilled people, then the cost for our economy will be far more. Bite the bullet now and the message to our politicians is to see beyond the short three years you may inhabit the Beehive (Parliament).
Of course such a scheme would allow those who currently find it difficult to enter into a trade or other vocation, because they lack the money to pay for the training. That can only benefit us all in the long term.