Education – More than trades included in Government’s free study fund

Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: UCOL

Learners in the Manawatū, Whanganui, Wairarapa, and Horowhenua regions are flocking at the chance to take up free study covered by the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) – but many parents and students are unaware of the range of programmes that are included.

Since launching last year, the Government has this month expanded what qualifications are eligible for its funding. Across UCOL’s campuses, 34 programmes are now covered by free trades training, including qualifications in health and wellbeing, information technology, conservation, enrolled nursing, community support, and agriculture.

“Obviously when the community heard about free trades training, there’s been a lot of interest in our extensive trades’ schools,” says Dr Linda Sissons, UCOL’s Acting Chief Executive. “It’s the wider qualifications that people missing out on – things they don’t realise are covered. With fees funded until 31 December 2022, we want to make sure our community is making the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity that’s open to all ages.”

For UCOL, the results are clear – there’s been a 40% increase in enrolments for TTAF funded qualifications in comparison with enrolments this time last year. Plus, the semester hasn’t even started yet, with learners having another three weeks to enrol.

“Across the board the growth has been really consistent – there’s been increases on each campus, in every faculty. Against this time last year, we’ve had 191 more students enrolled, and we expect to see that grow even further.”

“With 2020 NCEA results now published, we want to ensure that school leavers and their whanau are fully informed about this unique opportunity. For those well out of school, no matter what you’ve studied before, you can access this funding. It’s a chance for young – and not so young – people to get a fully-funded head start in rewarding, in demand careers.”

Of all the courses on offer at UCOL’s Manawatū campus, the most popular ones so far have been the Bachelor of Nursing, Level 3 Certificate in Automotive Engineering, and the Certificate in Early Childhood and Care. Automotive Engineering in particular has had to launch a second cohort to accommodate demand.

Meanwhile newer programmes that have been recently launched include the Bachelor of Social Services and the Certificate in Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying.  

Across the Whanganui, Wairarapa and Horowhenua campuses, qualifications in nursing, business, cookery, early childhood care, and beauty therapy are particularly popular.

Students interested in UCOL’s programmes can check out what’s available on www.ucol.ac.nz. If they have any questions about free trades training funding, they can call 0800 GO UCOL.