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Report Highlights Importance of Workforce Skill

MEDIA RELEASE – 23 April 2008
Report Highlights Importance of Workforce Skill Use
Businesses need to focus more on how to get the best value out of their training in order to increase productivity, a new report shows.
The Skills-Productivity Nexus report, released today, was commissioned by the Industry Training Federation and the Department of Labour. It emphasises that increasing productivity requires not just an increased supply of skills, but also thinking about how businesses can get the best value out of the training in which they invest.  The report was prepared as part of a study on how industry training organisations can help build productivity at individual businesses.
“It shows that getting the full benefit from training requires thinking about the work environment in which training occurs and skills are actually used – thinking about deployment as well as development,” Industry Training Federation Executive Director Jeremy Baker said today.
The report also examines what a selection of New Zealand industry training organisations are doing to promote productivity in individual workplaces. These include the Agriculture ITO, the Apparel and Textile ITO, and ITOs involved in the Competitive Manufacturing Initiative.
“In our tight labour market, relevant and effective training practices are key to increasing productivity. While ITOs continue to focus on developing and arranging training for their industries, many are also increasingly working with businesses to ensure that skills are effectively utilised in the workplace,” Mr Baker said.
“This report not only highlights the value of ITOs’ industry skill leadership role, but documents some useful examples of how ITOs can and are actively helping companies to meet the twin challenges of addressing skill shortages and raising labour productivity”.
The next phase of the project involves case study work with specific businesses in the printing and packaging, apparel and textiles, and forestry industries. This will identify some specific lessons and approaches ITOs can use to help businesses raise productivity.
The project is supported through the Workplace Productivity Reference Group, an initiative that includes business, union, and government representatives. The Industry Training Federation is a membership organisation representing all of New Zealand’s 40 Industry Training Organisations.

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