In New Zealand First we believe the money we spend on education is an investment, not just expenditure. It is not a “bums on seats” target or a “free lunch”. It’s in the interests of our Nation, not just individuals, to have a well educated and trained population, but we need a return on our investment.

Today we spend $4.1 million on tertiary education, with a $1.5 million liability on government books in the form of student debt.

So what are we getting in return?

Less than 50% are completing their qualification. Of those who do, less than 50% find employment. Another 23% of graduates fail to find work in another industry, so they complete a second qualification in a completely different field. It’s called horizontal shift.

And all of this is happening while we spend 70% of taxpayer money on an Education system that isn’t helping the students in it get ahead.

New Zealand First wants a return on our investment, for students, for the tax payer and for the Nation as a whole. We need Up Front Investment or UFI for short.

We are going to cut the non-completion rate for qualifications from 43%, and reduce the number of people redoing a qualification at the same level because they can’t find work in an industry relevant to their first degree.
UFI achieves this through Career Workforce planning and Strengthening Career and Vocational Support for students in Years 7 to 13.

This will save us 1 billion dollars.

We are going to raise Universal Student Allowances for all full-time students, give them access to an Accommodation Supplement and offer fully funded courses for qualifications related to industry shortages.
This will relieve current students of the stress and financial burden created under the current system.

UFI will transform Tertiray Education, in Universities, Polytechnics and Trades, from taking a gamble on further education, to a Nationwide strategy where people trade debt for a job in the regions or will there are skill shortages. It will lift completion rates, whether you’re a student or a trade apprentice.

We save wastage from un-completion, fill skill shortages that cost our economy and employ Kiwis so their higher wages help our national coffers not overseas. Not a bad return, for an Up Front Investment.