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Opportunities and threats in shakeup of vocational training

Asking Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics to be responsible for training in the workplace is doomed to fail, says Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

In its submission to the Ministry of Education’s proposal to reform vocational education, TIA agrees there is a need to consolidate and stabilise the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs). However, TIA strongly disagrees that the reformed ITPs should take over the role of arranging workplace training.

Chris Roberts, TIA Chief Executive, says while ITPs and private training establishments are important and necessary providers of pre-work training, the proposal to disestablish industry training organisations is a significant backwards step.

“It fails to recognise the important role industry training organisations play in arranging training for employers.

“Shifting the provision for workplace training to the proposed New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology will result in significant numbers of employers disengaging from formal workplace training arrangements.”

TIA does welcome the proposed introduction of Industry Skills Bodies (ISBs). TIA agrees that ISBs should have the proposed roles of providing advice to the government on industry skill needs, setting industry standards and approving vocational education programmes.

“There has long been a vacuum in skills leadership within the tourism industry, so we welcome the shift to stronger leadership of vocational skills,” says Mr. Roberts.

In addition, TIA believes it is the ISBs that should be mandated to arrange industry training, in a similar model to that which industry training organisations currently do.

Skills and training provision within an industry as large and complex as tourism has many participants and it is not often recognised that the most significant trainer is employers.

“The Government proposals, which are significant and have far-reaching consequences, provide both an opportunity and a threat for vocational training in the tourism and hospitality industry. Every day across the tourism and hospitality industry, employers are training and upskilling their staff to support both the visitor experience and productivity improvements within their organisations.”

TIA also calls for ISBs to take on a wider mandate should industry wish, including the development and implementation of national workforce strategies, and to lead industry talent strategies for attracting people to the industry.

TIA’s submission was compiled following a period of research and stakeholder engagement including engaging with tourism operators, industry associations, peak bodies including BusinessNZ and the Industry Training Federation, and tertiary education organisations including ITOs and Private Training Establishments.

Read TIA’s full submission here.

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