Government urged to bring back paid placements amid workforce shortage

'If New Zealand wants to grow its workforce, it's going to have to introduce paid training too'

Government urged to bring back paid placements amid workforce shortage

An advocacy group in New Zealand is calling on the government to reinstate paid placements to address workforce shortages across the country.

Paid Placements Aotearoa said it will be delivering a petition on the issue to Parliament on May 28.

According to the group, the government must follow the footsteps of other countries introducing paid placements for essential workers, such as Australia, which will implement paid placements for teachers, nurses, midwives, and social workers starting July 2025.

"If New Zealand wants to grow its workforce, it's going to have to introduce paid training too," said Bex Howells, Paid Placements Aotearoa Campaign Lead, in a statement.

"Scotland has done this with extraordinary success. Over the last decade, they have grown their nursing staff by 94.7% and midwives by 201%."

Paid placement calls

The petition comes as the Education Review Office recently released a new report that recommended the introduction of a "placement allowance" to remove financial barriers for student teachers.

The Nurses Organisation have also called for paid placements to fight "placement poverty" and grow the workforce.

Paid training in some professions in New Zealand used to be the norm before training moved to universities, according to Paid Placements Aotearoa.

"Ultimately, students deserve to live with dignity in training and New Zealanders deserve better access to services. There's an abundance of evidence that paid training works and we must join this global call to action," Howells said.

The call comes amid growing efforts from other countries to attract essential workers from New Zealand, exacerbating workforce shortages and putting the country at risk of a "brain drain."

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