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Skills Shortage Action Through Industry Training

Skills Shortage Action Through Industry Training

The key message from the Department of Labour’s Skill Shortages report for the September 2002 quarter released today is that solving the general skills shortages problem remains a key to the economic transformation of New Zealand and its return to the top half of the OECD.

“Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) set the standards and managed the industry-based training of over 95,000 New Zealanders in 2001. This is a huge contribution to getting New Zealanders the skills they need so they can deliver for the needs of themselves and their families while delivering the skilled work business needs”, said Darel Hall Executive Director of the Industry Training Federation.

“The Government is right to identify extending the training culture within business as a key long term component of solving the skills shortage. ITOs are a central part of that solution, working with our sector colleagues and partners.

“The Government has a lot of work to do this budget to fund its commitment to industry training and the target if has set itself of 150,000 people in industry training by 2005, and 250,000 by 2007. The Government has increased industry training funding by 50% since 1999. Despite this increase, current Government funding is unable to meet the rapid growth in demand for industry training. According to official figures, the Government has demand for around 15% more industry training that it has been able to fund in 2003.

“Industry contributes capital, time and cash to the cost of training in partnership with Government. ITOs have over-delivered in the last two years – managing 16% and 19% more training than funded. This is unsustainable. Industry sectors are identifying vocational education and training as a key component of their strategic plans; the Health and Disability strategy alone could mean thousands more people involved in workplace-based learning. In addition, the contracting sector is looking at major increases in learning requirements, for example in the bitumen component where required training will lead to thousands of extra trainees in the short to medium term.

“Some 40 ITOs (over 85% of ITOs) met recently to discuss the impediments to their contribution to transforming New Zealand’s economy. A range of issues were discussed, funding growth to meet demand was inevitably a key issue that Government will need to face.

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