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Changing workplaces require innovative approach to education

Changing workplaces require innovative approaches to education

New Zealand needs a national skills strategy and greater collaboration across the tertiary education sector, according to a report released today by Infometrics. From education to the economy: Megatrends affecting NZ’s working environment examines changes in the workforce that will take place over the next 20 years.

“Workers will require increasing access to skills-based training as the workplace continues to rapidly evolve,” argues Infometrics Chief Forecaster Gareth Kiernan. “Too often people are entering the workforce without all the skills required to make an immediate contribution. It is imperative that the content in tertiary education courses is relevant for the workplace.”

Infometrics estimates that 31% of current jobs in the New Zealand workforce are at high risk of automation between now and 2036. These job losses will be spread relatively evenly across the country with lower-skilled jobs likely to be more heavily affected. “The government, in partnership with the tertiary education sector, has a key role to play in helping lower-skilled workers, particularly over-represented Māori and Pasifika,” says Mr Kiernan.

New jobs will be created in the likes of design and programming, mostly in the main urban centres. This outcome suggests more difficult employment and economic conditions for provincial and rural areas. These pressures will be exacerbated by the continued concentration of population growth in the “Golden Triangle” area of the upper North Island.

Necessary innovations in the tertiary education sector include a greater focus on transferable skills, rather than knowledge, and a move towards smaller courses that can fit in more easily with job and career changes throughout people’s working lives. Online-based learning is one advancement that will help achieve these goals.

More collaboration between tertiary education organisations will also allow providers to focus on the areas of learning in which they have strengths, leading to higher-quality courses and better outcomes for graduates. With the government supplying an overarching skills strategy, this approach will result in better workforce outcomes and productivity over the medium term.

“Appropriate planning and innovation in the education sector over the next 20 years will give all New Zealanders the chance to benefit from the economic transformation that is underway,” says Mr Kiernan.

To view the full From education to the economy: Megatrends affecting NZ’s working environment report click here

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