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Ticks and crosses for Schools Plus plans

September 22, 2008
Media release


Ticks and crosses for Schools Plus plans

Government proposals to improve the skill levels of under-18 year olds are a definite step forward but leave a number of key questions unanswered, says Business NZ.

Chief executive Phil O'Reilly says there is much to note in the Government’s plan to support individualized careers advice for all students, additional funding to help schools buy specialized education training to meet student needs and an innovative polytechnic school partnership.

This support is part of the Government’s Schools Plus programme, to increase the educational achievement of 15 to 19-year-olds.

“These steps should help improve the range and quality of options open to young people,” says Mr O’Reilly. “The question that remains unanswered however, is what does the compulsory education and training age means for employers?

"What is an employer supposed to do when one of their young employees isn't interested in training? Will employers in this situation face fines if they can't cajole a young worker into study, as has been proposed in England?

"If the Schools Plus policy isn’t designed and implemented carefully, there’s a very real risk that many employers will be put off hiring young workers. That would hardly be in the interest of young people, since work experience is one of the most valuable skills a person can acquire,” says Mr O’Reilly.

"We urge the Government to work closely with the business community on finalising the Schools Plus programme.”

ENDS

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