The news that the number of 18-25 year olds studying at tertiary level has increased markedly since 2008 is good for New Zealand.

The National Government has made it clear that world-class skills and knowledge that will get our people ahead in life are vital to our economic growth plan.

In Southland, we are blessed to have SIT leading the way and helping us retain Southlanders and recruit outsiders to work and study here.

The other key aspect to all of this is having jobs after training is completed.  Our plans, such as the 90-day trial period, have already shown increases in employment, but we need to keep working on creating the right economic climate where employment in the South remains a strong option for our students.