We must investigate COVID-19 retraining support that skews towards men: Greens

The Green Party is calling for a review into the gender split of training programmes offered by government to help New Zealanders retrain following COVID-19 job losses.

“Gender equity matters now more than ever - women, particularly women of colour, are more impacted of job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.

“Women are more likely to have lost work due to COVID-19 but currently, the COVID response is not targeted to meet their needs.

“The Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund was set up quickly to provide free courses from July 2020 to those who needed to retrain as a result of COVID-19 disruption.

“Some women will have taken up these opportunities, however, the courses selected are heavily skewed towards male-dominated industries and neglect areas of demand which mainly employ women, such as early childhood education.

“Affordable childcare has a huge impact on women’s availability for work, and will be critical in supporting women back into the workforce in the COVID-19 recovery.

“As well as removing barriers for women to train in trades, we need to ensure the spread of courses funded reflects workforce demand, without gender bias.

The review would explore:

  • How the courses supported by Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund meet future demand in areas of the workforce which predominantly employ women as well as those which predominantly employ men.
  • How we can ensure job creation and apprenticeship programmes have policies promoting inclusion of all genders and ethnicities.
  • Whether specific degree-level programmes should be included where these are necessary to meet future workforce need.
  • How we provide workforce re-entry guidance and support for parents who have been out of work caring for children for more than three years.

“We can do things differently. The Green Party will put gender equity and racial justice at the heart of our COVID-19 recovery.”


Following the review, we would expect to see recommendations on additional programmes to include, as well as additional support to ensure women receive equal benefit from the targeted fund.

The TEC has discretion to add additional qualifications and programmes that meet current eligibility criteria. Any expansion of Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund beyond the current criteria would require a Cabinet decision.

Some examples of some areas that the fund could focus on to ensure a greater gender balance, are:  

  • Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (Level 5)
  • Certificate in Education Support (Level 4) [teacher aides]
  • Various business admin type courses (including New Zealand Diploma in Legal Executive Studies (up to Level 6)
  • Library and information management (levels 5 / 6)
  • Pharmacy courses (levels 4/5)
  • Community nursing assistants (level 5)

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