Skills and training shakeup announced

Friday 2 Aug 2019

 
The NZ Government is tackling the long-term challenges of skills shortages and the mismatch between training provided and the needs of employers, by comprehensively reforming vocational education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced yesterday.

“The comprehensive changes we are making will address the widespread skills shortages across most industry sectors. These shortages highlight the limitations of the current vocational educational system.”

“Repeated forecasts show that one third of all jobs in New Zealand are likely to be significantly affected by automation, and by as early as 2022 more than half of all employees will require significant upskilling and retraining”.

“As lower-skilled jobs disappear we need our people to learn new skills, often while on the job, earning while they are learning. Furthermore, advances in automation and artificial intelligence mean it won’t just be lower-skilled workers affected”.

“New Zealand needs to lift productivity and for that to happen we need more companies to be involved in training and taking on more apprentices. Currently however, nearly nine out of 10 of our businesses are not training through industry training. Yet at the same time, 71% of employers surveyed say there is, or will soon be, a skills shortage in their industry area”.

The changes “The changes we are making will give industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and training, making the system more responsive to employers’ needs and to the changing world of work. Industry and employers will identify skills needs, set standards and approve qualifications and credentials, and influence funding decisions. We want to see more work place learning, more apprentices and more opportunities for people to earn while they learn.”

The seven key changes announced are:

- Around four to seven industry-governed Workforce Development Councils will be created by 2022. The councils will replace and expand most of the existing roles of industry training organisations.

- The country’s 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics will be brought together to operate as a single national campus network. A new Institute will start on 1 April 2020 and will be a new kind of organisation that provides on-the-job and off-the-job learning. The head office will not be in Auckland or Wellington, and a charter will be set out in legislation to make sure a number of bottom lines are met.

- New Regional Skills Leadership Groups representing regional interests will be set up.

- Over the next two to three years, the role of supporting workplace learning will shift from industry training organisations to training providers. Holding organisations will be formed from Industry Training Organisations to smooth the transition.

- Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) will be established at regional campuses to drive innovation and expertise, and improve linkages between education, industry and research.

- Māori will be included as key partners, including through Te Taumata Aronui, a Māori Crown Tertiary Education Group.

- The dual funding system will be unified and simplified to encourage greater integration of on-the-job and off-the-job learning.

The transition is expected to take three to four years to get fully underway.

Relevant links:

- Cabinet paper and proactive release documents are here.

- Copies of an overview and a detailed change summary document, along with a summary of submissions and FAQs, is available here

Further comment on the changes and impact on training for our – and other sectors – can be read here. Comment from Competenz on the announcement and changes can be read here

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