The New Zealand High Commission says Solomon Islands workers who go to New Zealand under the Recognized Seasonal Employer RSE scheme will be eligible to apply for 20 hours of free tuition in English, maths, finance, computer literacy and health.

High Commissioner Mark Ramsden said any RSE worker can ask to be considered for the programme, but priority will be given to workers who are in New Zealand for the first time or who have not had a previous opportunity to receive tuition.

He said selection will also depend on each person's current level of English literacy and numeracy.

Mr Ramsden said the classes will not result in a formal qualification, but they are intended to make sure RSE workers get as much out of their time in New Zealand as possible.

The tuition, to be funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and delivered by Fruition Horticulture, will be available from this month in five regions: Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Marlborough and Otago.

Up to 500 RSE workers will take part each year.

The classes are an extension of a pilot programme that has provided English language, numeracy and literacy training over the past two years.

In most cases the classes will be provided after work or during down-times.

The RSE scheme is a New Zealand seasonal work initiative that takes people from throughout the Pacific to work in New Zealand orchards and vineyards for up to six or seven months each year.

Some 400 Solomon Islanders are in New Zealand as RSE workers this season.